There is something really messed up about this story, and as someone watching from the outside, with no dog in this fight, it looks like a National Hockey League team may have lied in an attempt to either damage the reputation of a prospect, or force him to sign with them.
On Tuesday the Nashville Predators expressed their displeasure at the fact that their former 66th overall pick in 2012, Jimmy Vesey, had made the decision to become a free agent, and they expressed that displeasure in a very public fashion. The Predators argued that Vesey had assured the team, prior to the NHL trade deadline, that he would sign with them after his college career came to an end, and simply changed his mind at the last minute.
Vesey's management has responded today in a statement published by Predators beat writer Adam Vingan and it's clear someone is not telling the truth here:
"After being fully advised of his options and upon the recommendation of his advisors and counselors, Jimmy Vesey shall become an unrestricted free agent on Aug. 15, 2016. The Nashville Predators were informed of this decision. Nashville now claims and it has been widely reported that they were without knowledge of this possibility and that this lack of knowledge precluded the hockey club fro macquiring a player at the Trade Deadline. This contention is not accurate. The Nashville Predators were informed prior to the trade deadline that they should conduct their business as they saw fit and that the potential of signing or not signing Jimmy Vesey should not be a factor in their decision."
"The club has further claimed that the decision to elect unrestricted free agency is bizarre and does not make sense financially. If this election was based solely in regard to money Jimmy would have signed after his third college season, burned a year off of his entry level contract, and been eligible for both signing bonus and salary compensation. A full analysis of his options was conducted. Whether Jimmy will lose any money is speculative at best. However, it is believed such a loss, if any, can be more than made up as a result of on ice and off ice opportunities in the city and organization of his choice. Without question there will be excellent opportunities presented to Jimmy and his success, including financial success on and off the ice, will be determined by hard work, ability, and the opportunity to choose the city and organization that best suits his skill set."
NHL sources have also claimed that the Predators were in fact informed of this possibility BEFORE the deadline, which brings up the very serious question of why Nashville would come out and make such a huge fuss about Vesey not signing?
It's certainly not a good look for the Predators.