NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Jimmy Vesey will become a free agent Aug. 15, and his representatives say the Nashville Predators were told not to factor the Harvard forward's future into any decisions at the trade deadline.
It's the latest in bantering between the Predators and Vesey.
Vesey's representatives at Global Hockey Consultants issued a statement responding to Nashville general manager David Poile's comments Monday night. The GM says Vesey told assistant general manager Peter Fenton in February that he would sign with Predators, who drafted him in 2012.
''This contention is not accurate,'' Vesey's representatives said in the statement. ''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 Predators declined to comment on the statement, which was first reported by The Sports Network.
On Monday night, Poile called Vesey's decision to go to free agency a ''shocker'' because the general manager expected to sign the forward once his college career concluded with a loss in the NCAA Tournament. The Predators promised Vesey a spot on a top line immediately, and Poile said they had talked about how to transport Vesey to Nashville. The GM also said it was ''bizarre'' they could not meet with Vesey, his family and his representatives.
''I clearly believe that Jimmy's received bad advice and bad counsel,'' Poile said Monday night.
Vesey's representatives disagreed that the forward's decision to become an unrestricted free agent was bad and said Vesey could have signed after his third season at Harvard if the player only wanted money.
''A full analysis of his options was conducted. Whether Jimmy will lose any money is speculative at best,'' according to the statement.
''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.''
Vesey, who turns 23 in May, can sign with any NHL team starting Aug. 15. The native of North Reading, Massachusetts, scored 80 goals with 144 points at Harvard and will graduate this spring.