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Focusing on Jimmy Vesey was a waste of time the Bruins management really shouldn't have indulged in - so what now?

The chase for Jimmy Vesey has distracted the Bruins from their most important issue - and now is where we see the fallout.

Slovenia v USA - 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Photo by Matej Divizna/Getty Images

So, Vesey Watch is over.

The Bruins were among the front-runners for the most-hyped college free-agent since Justin Schultz in 2011, but the pride of Harvard University announced on Friday that he will be a New York Ranger for the foreseeable future.

This leaves the Bruins with a problem. A problem largely of their own making.

This offseason Don Sweeney and his team have been a group who seem to be ignoring the elephant in the room when it comes to Boston - the fact that the Bruins defence desperately, desperately needs reinforcing.

Despite numerous opportunities to arrange ways to address that issue this summer - including two of the biggest player-movement windows of the season (the draft window and free-agent frenzy) the Bruins have remained dragging their feet in the addition of a new face on the blueline.

We're told that there have at least been discussions regarding Kevin Shattenkirk from St Louis, but when it came to any discussions on big-name blueliners in free agency, there seemed to be a distinct lack of any Bruins involvement...with the possible exception of Kris Russell.

When pressed as to try and work out exactly why the Bruins seemed to be so inactive in even attempting to deal with such an issue, there was a ready-made defense being put forward by some.

"B's are waiting to see how much money they have after Jimmy Vesey's signing".

The answer, as it turns out, is just as much as they'd have had had they not gone after Vesey at all.

The trouble is, they now only have considerably less time to do anything about it, and more importantly, their options are increasingly limited.

Free agent defensemen available are...a limited bunch, shall we say. Nikita Nikitin. Kyle Quincey. Nicklas Grossman. Eric Gryba.

Indeed, the most enticing FA prospect out there right now is a player who's only played 27 games in the NHL - Jakub Nakladal. He is not a top-4 solution as a defenseman in any way shape or form. The interesting names here are all in RFA - names like Cody Ceci, Jacob Trouba and indeed the gold standard RFA in Hampus Lindholm of Anaheim. The trouble is, most of these would also likely require some serious negotiation and work from the GMs - something that simply hasn't been in any evidence and, with the NHL now in the dead period before the beginning of preseason, may not be for a little while.

This leaves the Bruins in an unenviable position of having to go into preseason with one of their most important positions unfilled and no real idea or indeed obvious prospect of the gap being filled from within the system.

Although Charlie McAvoy has undoubted talent, he's probably not going to jump in as a top-pair defenseman at 18. The likes of Rob O'Gara and Matt Grzelczyk are definite prospects, but they're going to have to go some if they're likely to step in straightaway and the Bruins gambling on them doing so is at the very least a brave move.

More to the point, they've pushed all their chips into the centre of the table as far as this offseason goes...and lost...for a player who, let's face it, is likely a product as much of media hype and clever promotion as actual talent.

Now don't get us wrong here - Jimmy Vesey is not that bad a player. He has a decent ceiling-maybe even a decent second-liner ceiling, but the season he just won the Hobey Baker for actually showed a DOWNTURN from his junior season the year before. There is no question that Vesey is good - but is he good enough to waste an entire offseason on as your priority target, particularly with the previous history of Hobey Baker winners.

Making even less sense is the fact the Bruins went on this charge for a solution to a problem they didn't need to solve. In terms of young forward talent, the Bruins are among the very strongest in the NHL. Take a look at their forward depth and it is utterly ridiculous. Names like Frank Vatrano, Austin Czarnik and Seth Griffith - or, a little further down the line, Vesey's fellow Crimson player and 2015 draft-pick Ryan Donato.

If there is one place the Bruins do NOT need to be committing considerable amounts of time and money chasing prospects who might just as easily miss as hit, it's at forward. And yet they have, in a losing effort.

Now, with a month to the start of the new season, the Bruins management are left, essentially, with two strategies - hope that one of their prospects on the bubble can step up and fill a role, or go hunting for a defenseman in a trade and FA market that will be even more horrendously expensive than it was at the start of the summer.

Neither option is massively appealing, nor does either option put the Bruins in a strong position.

And the worst thing is, the Bruins have put themselves in this weakened position chasing a prospect who may not be as good as everyone thinks in a race they didn't even win. Like many positions the Bruins have found themselves in during the Don Sweeney era, it's one that's been incredibly avoidable.

The same mistakes seemingly keep getting made in the Bruins front office - and the options to solve them are getting more and more of a long shot, and more and more expensive as time goes on.

It's a trend that shouldn't be allowed to continue, but it shows no sign of being changed yet.