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AP's Vesey: 'Just the start' with Maple Leafs

6/28/2014

Nolan Vesey didn’t know what to expect from draft weekend. He’d tuned in Saturday to the second day of the NHL Draft to see if his friends from the area had been selected.

Then, he got a Twitter follower from someone who described himself as a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“I couldn’t refresh my computer fast enough,” said Vesey, a product of Austin Preparatory School who spent last year with the South Shore Kings.

When his computer eventually caught up, he learned that he’d been taken by the Maple Leafs with the 158th overall selection.

Vesey, whose older brother Jimmy was drafted by Nashville during the third round in 2012, will skate at the University of Maine next season. But the North Reading resident was not among the NHL Central Scouting’s ranked skaters for the 2014 draft class, although he’d scored 26 goals with 40 assists in 48 games in the USPHL last year.

“I came into this year, just trying to get ready for Maine,” Vesey told ESPN Boston Saturday. “I had a really good year there. I talked to a couple teams throughout the year but honestly I didn’t have my hopes up too high.”

Vesey had talked to scouts from the Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, New York Islanders, in addition to the Maple Leafs, earlier in the year, but hadn’t heard anything in the weeks leading up to draft weekend.

“My brother [Jimmy] told me, if it happens it’s great, if not, I’m still going to college and it can still work out,” Vesey said of the prospects of being selected.

Vesey, who is the son of former Boston Bruin Jimmy Vesey, scored 21 goals and added 13 assists for Austin Prep during his senior year in 2012-13 and considered playing in the USHL before moving on to the Kings this year. Now, he’s waiting for the call to join the Maple Leafs’ development camp, which he believe will be next weekend.

“Like every hockey player, I wanted to get bigger, faster, stronger,” Vesey said of his goals entering last season. “I think I accomplished those things, but it’s just the start. This is just the next step and you’re just trying to build on that.”