The Chicago Blackhawks had reigning Hart Trophy winner Patrick Kane as part of their contingent that met with free agent forward Jimmy Vesey's camp on Wednesday, reports Mark Divver of the Providence Journal. The Hawks have been very aggressive recently in pursuing Vesey, who hit the market earlier this week.
Having Kane at the meeting is just another example of how badly Chicago wants Vesey. This isn't the first time we've heard about big names trying to sway the 23-year-old winger -- John Tavares was part of the Islanders' pitch and Jack Eichel surely tried to sell him on the Sabres -- but it's notable that a three-time Cup winner and current league MVP was recruiting Vesey to Chicago.
Initially, there were reports that Jonathan Toews would also be part of the Hawks' pitch, although it's possible that was merely in the sense of offering Vesey the chance to play with him. This report says Kane was physically at the meeting with Vesey, though, which is a nice card for the Hawks to be able to pull. Surely they recalled how they convinced Artemi Panarin to choose Chicago.
It's unclear where Vesey intends to sign at this point, but the Hawks can't say they didn't try. GM Stan Bowman has gone hard after the young forward over the past few weeks and just brought his MVP winger to the meeting. It might sound like a little much for an unproven rookie, but with so many teams lining up to try to sign him, you can see why Chicago would pull out all the stops.
You also have to wonder: Did the Hawks discuss Vesey having the opportunity to play with Kane? Could the solution here actually be to split up Panarin and Kane, then let Vesey be the new rookie to take advantage of playing with No. 88? It's an interesting wrinkle to consider, although there are still a lot of other questions to answer before even getting to that point.
Vesey met with seven teams, including the Hawks, on Tuesday and Wednesday. Most likely, he'll make a choice by the end of the weekend, so stay tuned.