When Jimmy Vesey became an unrestricted free agent on August 15th, several teams were interested in signing the Hobey Baker Award winner out of Harvard University which included the Boston Bruins. Many people believed that Vesey, being from North Reading, Massachusetts, would end up signing with the Boston Bruins. When the New York Rangers ended up being the team Vesey selected, it left a lot of disgruntled Bruins fans and players angry and disappointed (just ask Matt Belesky).
To many Bruins fans, the inability for the Bruins to lure Vesey to Boston spoke volumes all across New England.
For starters, it is very easy to wonder why Vesey did not sign with the Bruins but choosing the New York Rangers instead. It is very easy to become over analytical as to where did the Bruins go wrong and what ultimately went wrong in the recruitment process for Vesey. In the grand scheme of things for the Boston Bruins, this latest decision on the part of the Vesey is part of a bigger problem that the Bruins currently have and face.
The Jimmy Vesey decision is the epitome of what has gone wrong for the black and gold in the last two years since 2014.
To fully understand where exactly this is going, you have to do two things. First and foremost, think about the direction the franchise has gone on since losing Game 7 of the 2014 Easter Conference Semifinals against the Montreal Canadiens. Secondly, reflect on the player personnel decisions made by both former Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli and now current Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney.
When you look at the decisions made and how the moves have impacted the team on the ice, it has become very evident that the Bruins have hurt their chances by repeatedly shooting themselves in the foot.
It is well known that the Bruins have missed the playoffs the last two years thanks to back-to-back late season collapses. When to look at the drop-off in talent since the end of the 2013-2014 season, it has hurt the team and its identity. Look at the players such as Milan Lucic, Shawn Thornton, Jarome Iginla, Andrew Ference, and Chris Kelly who were not only key offensively and defensively to the team but also the leadership they help brought to the Bruins locker room.
Leadership on championship contending teams matter in the NHL, and there’s no greater example to look at than the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks, one of the teams who partook in the Vesey sweepstakes, have won three Stanley Cup Championship in the last six years thanks in large part to having strong leadership core that includes their captain Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Patrick Kane, Brent Seabrook, Johnny Oduya just to name a few.
When you look at the Bruins team currently, the Bruins did not get better in major areas in which they needed to improve on especially defensively. They have made one major splash via free agency in signing David Backes to a five-year contract, yet the move in itself does not improve the team on the defensive side of the puck. Ultimately, Vesey had to look at the whole when he looked at the Bruins as a team to potentially sign with and the picture he saw did not look very promising.
Jimmy Vesey electing to sign with another team other than the Boston Bruins has raised a lot of eyebrows. However, the most eyebrows that should be raised should be in New England and especially in the Greater Boston area. If there was ever a sign as for free agents deciding not to play in Boston, Vesey’s decision certain sent off alarms of concern and worry.
It is certainly not the end of all things for the Bruins. However, the team must find a way to fix their woes and get on-ice results that will translate to off the ice success.