Elliotte Friedman reported this afternoon that the New Jersey Devils have signed Jimmy Vesey to a one season contract worth $800,000. Per the Devils’ official website, it is a one-way contract. Vesey was with the New Jersey Devils on a professional try-out basis in the hopes of getting a contract. He succeeded. Vesey now joins Frederik Gauthier as players out of camp that earned a contract. Since Gauthier was placed on waivers today, it appears that Vesey has also made the New Jersey team for the time being.
Seeing Vesey get a deal makes more sense to me based on what he did in preseason. Vesey played in more games. He played in a bottom-six role which would align with where he would likely play in New Jersey. He received PK time, which is an area of some need among the forwards. While I did not think Vesey played great, he certainly was not bad. Being able to hold his own is enough for the role of 12th to 14th forward and Vesey showed that. The signing makes sense.
Gauthier was the only Devil placed on waivers, which does confirm that Utica is in his future. There are some interesting names on the waiver wire - Alex Barre-Boulet, Jacob MacDonald - but I do not know if the Devils will be interested in taking someone. Even if they are, I am not sure where they stand in the waiver order after claiming Mason Geertsen last week. If they are near the back, then they would need to hope the rest of the league is not so interested. But I think the Devils’ aims are going to be more about cutting down the roster to 23 men by 5 PM ET, which is the league’s deadline, rather than adding names.
To that end, the Devils made two more cuts today. Per Corey Masisak, the Devils assigned Jesper Boqvist and Akira Schmid to Utica. Schmid to Utica was inevitable. He is a goalie, this is his first pro season, and he is nowhere near the top two at that position. The AHL makes sense for him. As for Boqvist, this is a disappointment for him. He never really shined in preseason. He has done poorly at the NHL in past stints in New Jersey. Given that he is 10 games away from losing his waiver exemption, moving him down now is a lot easier than later. Boqvist has done well in the AHL so a call up is in the cards. But if he wants to stick in the NHL, he really needs to make the next opportunity count. I do not know how many more he will get.
The demotions of Schmid and Boqvist and the eventual demotion of Gauthier brings the Devils down to 28 players on their roster. Unless I am mistaken in that count, the Devils have to cut at least five more players. Tyce Thompson could be demoted without going through waivers. Tyler Wotherspoon could be released from his PTO. Then it gets a bit tricky given the injuries in the lineup. Given that Scott Wedgewood, Marian Studenic, Colton White, and Geertsen are still with New Jersey, I would imagine some of the waiver ineligible players may be moved down to Utica tomorrow. Even if it is just for the day to allow for others to clear waivers. So if you see Alexander Holtz and/or Dawson Mercer moved down tomorrow, then do not freak out. It may be a paper move.
Going back to Vesey, congratulations to him for earning a contract out of camp. I wish him the best in New Jersey. Look for more moves to be made tomorrow before 5 PM ET. Please leave your reactions to this signing and what other moves the Devils will make tomorrow in the comments. Thank you for reading.