The NHL Draft is still a few days away, but Tim Murray isn't waiting until Friday to add young talent to his team. The Buffalo Sabres have acquired the rights to left winger Jimmy Vesey from the Nashville Predators in exchange for a third round pick in this year's draft.
In case you've been under a rock this offseason, Vesey is a talented young forward drafted in the third round by Nashville in 2012. He's played the last four seasons at Harvard, winning the Hobey Baker this year, and announced in March that he would not be signing with the Preds, instead choosing free agency. For Nashville, it was either trade him or lose him, and it looks like they found a willing partner in the Sabres.
Vesey is an exciting get for Buffalo for a few reasons - the first of which is his impressive skill set. Standing 6'3'', 205 lbs, Vesey has big-time size and strength, and has the two-way game to play in the Sabres top six. He's put up over a point per game in his college career, putting up 24 goals and 22 assists in just 33 games as he carried the Crimson to the NCAA Tournament this year. Second, unlike this weekend's drafted prospects, the 23-year old Vesey has the body, the skills, and the experience to start contributing in a big way next year. You don't captain your college team and win the Hobey Baker by accident, folks, and he should find a significant role waiting for him in Buffalo.
While he was linked first to his hometown Bruins, Vesey already has a few connections with the Sabres, specifically with Jack Eichel. These two players are the last two Hobey Baker award winners, they play on the same summer league hockey team in Boston, and they even have the same agent. GMTM speculated that Eichel would be the type of players that others would like to play with, acting as a sort of informal recruiter for the Sabres, and it looks like that has paid off.
The Sabres have until August 15 to sign Vesey to his entry-level contract before he becomes a UFA, but with the trade and his connections to the organization, you have to think the two sides won't take too long to get this done. The pick Buffalo traded away was one of four third rounders they have in this weekend's draft, specifically the one at #76 that came from Minnesota and Anaheim in the McGinn trade.