While Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray isn't losing any sleep knowing that the team made a solid pitch to Jimmy Vesey, the hockey world is still interested in the 23 yr. old who is locked in on an August 15th date with free agency. CSN Boston's Joe Haggerty met with a somewhat uncomfortable Vesey for a nine minute interview yesterday after a workout session in Foxboro.
Haggerty tried to keep it light throughout, but it's a pretty heavy subject for a guy who shunned the team that drafted him (Nashville) and has the most important career decision of his life coming in mid-August. Vesey touched on free agency, his respect for the Buffalo contingent he met with, on Boston definitely being on his short list of teams, and how he's taking advantage of a loophole in the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement that allows him this unique opportunity.
Being in Boston with a Bruins beat writer naturally brought out the homerism as Haggerty asked Vesey if there were any favorite players he'd heard from to, you know, give Bruins GM Don Sweeney a heads-up on who he might want to attend the eventual meeting. Haggerty even invoked the name Tom Brady, the patron saint of chowdah heads, as a reference point. Vesey could've gone number of ways from Milan Lucic to Raymond Borque to Team President Cam Neely but none of those were came out.
Vesey mentioned Joe Thornton as his favorite Boston Bruin and that he wears No. 19 because of him. That had to be a bit awkward.
Other than that, the only other thing worth noting is that Vesey likes Italian food. It's a homebody staple.
Just a head's up to the Sabres, should they get another sit-down with Vesey this time in Buffalo, they might want to reserve a table at Chef's in Buffalo or Como in Niagara Falls or a homey spot like Frank's Sunny Italy. You know, just to make Vesey feel at home.
The Sabres signed forward Marcus Foligno to a 1 yr./$2.25M contract yesterday which is the same salary he had last season.
Foligno came on rather strong later in the season while playing on the team's most consistent line with Johan Larsson at center and captain Brian Gionta on the other wing. It's pretty obvious this is a show-me year for Foligno as he'll need to start bringing every facet of his power forward game to the ice night-in/night-out.
As mentioned in his player re-cap for 2015-16, "Foligno is what he is, so there aren't too many questions save for, how far can he take his role? Can he become like a "Mule," ala Detroit's Johan Franson, and up his intensity-level to the point where he and his 6'3" 222lb. frame simply won't be denied? Will his stick-work around the net improve to the point where he can reach and maintain a 15-goal/30-point level? Is he prepared to take on more of the big bruisers in the league like Radko Gudas and Tom Wilson when necessary? "
I'd assumed he'd get a raise, but the contract Murray and assistant GM Mark Jakubowski signed him to is even better as it helps the team with their cap this season. As mentioned before, the Sabres haven't had to keep the NHL's salary cap in mind for quite some time but this year, they'll be butting up against it.
A quick take on their status using various cap-sites put them at just under $60M before the Foligno signing. With him in the fold the Sabres have two more restricted free agents to sign--Rasmus Ristolainen and Zemgus Girgensons--and are now at about $62M, or $11M under the league's $73M salary-cap ceiling.
Which leaves plenty of room to sign Risto, Gus and Vesey and add two depth players at the league minimum.