Jimmy Vesey’s father works for the Leafs as an amateur scout.
Jimmy Vesey’s brother Nolan is in the Leafs system.
The Leafs are nowhere near as good a team as the Predators and will have openings for forwards next season.
It doesn’t take a Harvard graduate to connect the dots between Jimmy Vesey and the Toronto Maple Leafs, and soon that’s what Vesey will be and there’s a strong possibility that he’ll strongly consider signing in Toronto.
In the meantime, Vesey needs to say the right things to the Nashville press and that’s exactly what he did.
“Yeah, I still have a great relationship with the team,” he said. “Development coach Scott Nichol and the Nashville scouts have been at my games and getting my game tapes and sending me feedback. I still have a great relationship with them. My dad’s a scout for the Leafs, but I wouldn’t read too much into that.”
Bob McKenzie, Elliotte Friedman, and Damien Cox have all previously acknowledged that the hiring of Jim Sr. could have been a move to earn the favour of the prospect, but also quick to point out that Vesey Sr. is more than qualified for the role of Amateur scout, and with one son already in the organization it was a logical place to send in an application.
Vesey’s production over the past few seasons with Harvard has been excellent. He was third among NCAA players in scoring last season, trailing only Jack Eichel and Eichel’s linemate Evan Rodriguez and four points clear of the fourth highest scoring player, Toronto Marlies depth winger Zach Hyman. He finished the 2014-15 campaign in the top-10 in the NCAA by shot rate (just behind Detroit Red Wings prospect Dylan Larkin), and led all NCAA players in goals per game rate.
Once again Vesey is leading the NCAA in goals per game rate this season, and he’s currently sporting a top-five shot rate also. Whether or not he’s a future top-six forward in the NHL, Vesey’s performance has been solid enough that he’ll have a ton of suitors should he hit unrestricted free agency this summer.
The biggest takeaway from this is Vesey doesn’t outright say that he will be a Predator. He’s said some positive things about Nashville, he obviously can’t say if he’s outright heading to Toronto, but does his best to pour water on the current rumour.
The Predators have a very good team, and will for a while. As such it may be difficult for Vesey to make the team next season. In contrast, the Leafs have a very bad team, but will be adding some young fire power in Marner and Nylander, and Vesey is another player who can easily fit into the Leafs immediately.
It’s also possible that Vesey is waiting for Stamkos to sign in Toronto before making his decision, which is my convenient reminder that this is all speculation at this point and there’s no chance of closure on this until the NCAA season ends.
What is encouraging is that like Zaitsev, Vesey is another highly touted prospect who could find his way to Toronto in the near future. For the first time in my 25 years as a Leafs fan I am enjoying what the future holds for this team.