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Vanek ‘no longer a given’ to sign in Minnesota

Jun 14, 2014, 2:51 PM EDT

Thomas Vanek Getty Images

Now that the offseason is upon us, it’s time to start speculating on where key free agents could wind up. Perhaps the biggest name to be had this summer is Montreal Canadiens forward Thomas Vanek.

While it’s been expected he’ll wind up signing with the Minnesota Wild, that may not be so certain now.

Michael Russo of The Star Tribune says the Wild may be a bit leery of Vanek because of what it might cost to bring him in and because of his disappointing postseason in Montreal.

From Russo:

There is a “price point” the Wild is willing to reach for certain players. Thomas Vanek is no longer a given. Four or five months ago, I think it was a given. But the bright future that many of the kids provide the Wild coupled with Vanek’s tough postseason with Montreal has changed things.

Vanek is going to get paid no matter what this summer. His playoff performance aside (five goals, 10 points in 17 games) he’s been a consistent point producer throughout his career and is a two-time 40+ goal scorer. This season he had 27 goals and 68 points while playing for the Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders, and Canadiens.

Doing that kind of work gets you noticed but so does not getting it done when your team needs you most in the postseason. With the salary cap likely to jump up to over $70 million, he’s going to get paid but finding the right situation will be tricky.

If a team can work him in the way the Los Angeles Kings did with Marian Gaborik that’d make for an ideal fit. That might not be the case in Minnesota.

  1. getadealdonealready - Jun 14, 2014 at 2:55 PM

    Some have been saying all along that he would have to agree to come here for considerably less then he would be offered in other places. I think his post-season performance dropped that amount even lower.

    • strictlythedanks - Jun 14, 2014 at 2:59 PM

      agreed, and the way the wilds youth performed in the postseason it might not be the best idea to take away any of their minutes by adding vanek. That being said the wild need to score some more goals one way or another.

  2. jason9696 - Jun 14, 2014 at 3:12 PM

    I wouldn’t sign him. He doesn’t show up in half the games that he plays in. Kind of like Alexei Kovalev.

  3. islander75 - Jun 14, 2014 at 4:54 PM

    i am really excited to see with what team he’s gonna sign at the end. he obviously wants the play with a cup contending team rather than getting only the big buck$ from garth snow.

    and his options are growing thin with his postseasonstruggle in particular in the ECF.

  4. rebekah319 - Jun 14, 2014 at 5:42 PM

    Now maybe Wild fans will understand why I have said that I never wanted him here. Its only becoming more clearer to hope others see it too

    • clarke16 - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:36 PM

      …go easy on the *clear understandings* rebekah… You still haven’t successfully processed the reality that Koivu isn’t a first line Center anymore… :)

  5. billsin20xx - Jun 14, 2014 at 5:46 PM

    C’mon, you had a coach not smart enough to play him enough in the playoffs to get involved, especially putting him on the fourth line. He scores most of his goals in the tough area in front of the net, he is a gamer who ended up with the wrong coach.
    Put on the right team he will be a star again.

    • 19to77 - Jun 14, 2014 at 6:12 PM

      Dude, did you see how often he blew a shift just coasting out of traffic and waiting for the puck? Driving the net like you’re describing is exactly what the Habs DIDN’T get enough of from him.

  6. mjw9326mjw9326 - Jun 14, 2014 at 8:41 PM

    Give him an incentive laden contract. If he hits his numbers, he gets paid. If not, he doesn’t. Simple enough. Put up or don’t get paid.

  7. gertrudegoat - Jun 14, 2014 at 9:16 PM

    Vanek is not as good as advertised. I saw hi most of this season with the Isles. Playing with John Taveras should have been enough for him to put up huge numbers. He did not. Vanek disappears for weeks at a time. He blew it big time by passing on Garth’s offer.

  8. newyorkislanderfancentral - Jun 14, 2014 at 9:32 PM

    maybe he should change his name to Rick Nash so his defensive play is praised?

  9. rsmaggiemae - Jun 14, 2014 at 10:28 PM

    I dont understand why everyone is so against Vanek coming to Minny
    but yet the Wild can pay 3 mil a year to Brodziak who had 17 one man rushes to the net the last year and could not score one goal.. and he is ok on the team?’Remember that when Vanek was at Montreal he had no chemistry with Pacioretty on his line… with Heatly gone at 7 mil a year, who is going to be the big man in the middle to score goals for the Wild which they need
    He isnt a pretty goal scorer but he can score goals.. he scored more goals in the month of March for the Habs than Brodzy had all year for the Wild Maybe if he came back home, he would have more incentive to play at home in front of hometown fans, and he could teach the young kids a thing or to… I have no issue with him coming back home at all…
    The Wild also need to try and get Niskanen

    • lordfletcher - Jun 15, 2014 at 12:02 AM

      Niskanen is going to get paid more than Fletcher is willing to go… I think.

      The cap is going up but Granlund, Nino, Brodin, Coyle, Haula and others are going to be getting paid in the next 1-3 years… And I mean paid.

      Fletcher isn’t going to overpay now knowing it’s going to kill the roster in 3 years.

  10. rsmaggiemae - Jun 14, 2014 at 10:35 PM

    Vanek had more chemistry with Pomanville than with Tavarres if you watch all the games…
    Dont be so down on this guy…

  11. rsmaggiemae - Jun 14, 2014 at 10:37 PM

    rebeka319
    Have you watched all the games with Vanek all these years???
    I have and I would be glad to have him on my team, he is a big body who can score and he is hard to push around, who else on the Wild team is like that???
    Tell me….

    • lordstanley65 - Jun 15, 2014 at 10:13 AM

      Agreed. The man used to kill us here in Boston.

    • clarke16 - Jun 16, 2014 at 8:28 PM

      Exactly. So many of the purple homers get sucked into what, through Russo, is essentially a team plant to frame/couch impending negotiations with Vanek–for as any good negotiator knows…it’s the first numbers and the last numbers which are the most important…

      Vanek is a known commodity. His playoff performance has nothing to do with the Wild’s interest or whether he comes to Minnesota, however–the contract expectations DO and all Fletcher is doing here is leveraging his press plant to leverage Vanek’s bad playoff press into the best deal he can get. All I’ve said many times–Fletcher is good at what he does…VERY good. ;)

  12. flyboystransport - Jun 14, 2014 at 11:19 PM

    Vanek did great playing with briere during brieres last two seasons in the playoffs in Buffalo. He went against the Rangers top d tandem so his numbers were gonna slip

  13. thomasvanek - Jun 15, 2014 at 12:37 AM

    So because a random journalist in Minnesota doesn’t think Vanek is a given that makes it so? Great detective work Joe Yerdon.

    • purpleguy - Jun 15, 2014 at 2:05 PM

      Russo’s probably the most connected beat writer in the NHL, and is usually spot on.

      • thomasvanek - Jun 15, 2014 at 7:44 PM

        In other words he is a glorified guesser?

      • clarke16 - Jun 16, 2014 at 9:32 PM

        Yup…so connected that in return for exceptional access–he has favors expected of him by the team, as well… ;)

  14. therealjr - Jun 15, 2014 at 1:13 AM

    Places Vanaek will get paid: Brooklyn, Florida. If he wants to play elsewhere he will need to be willing to play on a short term deal.

    Wild would be crazy to mess up what they are building with big money thrown at a 30 year old Vanek.

  15. bullwinkle88 - Jun 15, 2014 at 3:53 AM

    We don’t want him back here in Buffalo. Someone else can have him.

    • spoon9z - Jun 15, 2014 at 11:52 AM

      You guys did very well for yourself in trading him though…islanders, not so much.

      Vanek definitely has hurt his value not only by bouncing all over the league this year, but of course due to his pretty poor playoff performance as well. ALLITERATION BONUS!!!

  16. pone27 - Jun 15, 2014 at 10:01 AM

    Vanek is without a doubt a top goal scorer in the league. He easily has one of, arguably the best wristers in the NHL. But, he is very one dimensional in that aspect. Very solid hands, very solid with the stick. But, he lacks that take off speed, and is very reluctant to get gritty when its needed.

    Vanek definitely deserves a solid contract for he is a top goal scorer in the league and that’s what gets you paid. I think we can all agree that Vaneks player type is what gets you the contract that others don’t get (ie: Callahan wants Vanek money…why isn’t he getting it?)

    I personally think Vanek would do very, very well in Minnesota. But, I don’t think Vanek is going to get a payday if he goes there. On the flip side, Vanek turned down the Isles offer, which shows that if a playoff contending team wants his services, he more than likely will take a pay cut.

    I think we need to get off the age factor here for a bit, especially with players that are well conditioned. We are in an era now where 30 year olds can keep up with the younger players. I am not saying a 30 year old is young, but 30 is not “old” anymore. 35 is the new old IMO.

    • spoon9z - Jun 15, 2014 at 11:53 AM

      well then, Vanek played like a 35 year old this playoffs

    • rsmaggiemae - Jun 15, 2014 at 2:50 PM

      I realize that the Wild have to sign the young players also, but with Heatly gone at 7 mil,
      Brodzy gone at 3 mil, Prosser will be gone, Backstrom should go at 1.5 mil, that would leave around 21to 22 mil to play with this year
      To be honest, I dont really care for Russo OR Gorg as the big hockey experts in Minny, yes they gets around to hear all the gossip, but I would prefer someone a tad older and maybe played in the NHL… why did Russo leave Fla and NY?????
      and Gorg never did play in the NHL so how is he such a expert????
      I think that the Wild should draft Demko a very good goalie this year just in case…
      Everyone mark my word for next years draft
      There is a kid named Conor McDavid who is Crosby and Mcxkinnon combination, he will be drafted next year, I have watched him all year long on Canadadian tv…. he is really,really good. I could only wish the Wild would be able to draft him, but I doubt it
      but look at it this way … Bjustad will be a UFA in 3 years so go after him from the Panthers. I am sure he would love to come home, and there is another big body who can score and he played well with Haula at the U….
      Just a thought and here is another one.. I think th Wild should go after Hudson Fashing
      and get him locked up. loved his play at the games at the U hope they dont let him go, I could not believe the Kings let him go…..
      so that is some of my wish list..

      • killat93 - Jun 15, 2014 at 4:38 PM

        Russo is one of the best beat writers in the NHL. You must not like him because he is right about too much of his predictions. He has been a great asset to the fans here so I do not see any need to rip him. He left Florida, because people in Minnesota care about hockey and will listen to great articles. Russo just turned 40, is that not old enough and you do not need to play hockey to understand the business side of hockey and he has been around the NHL long enough to know what is going on. Russo also mentioned Demko being drafted by us, maybe you saw it. We do not need a whole team of Gophers playing for the Wild, there are four other Universities in Minnesota who could also produce players where we do not need to waste our time with these Gopher busts.

  17. purpleguy - Jun 15, 2014 at 2:11 PM

    The question the Wild has, which has probably more importance than Vanek’s playoff performance, is whether they want to commit to another long term contract to a 30-year old when they’ve already signed long term second contracts to Pommer, Suter and Parise. While the Wild needs scoring, they may have to balance that cap issue vs the upcoming youngster’s contracts. That makes it less likely Vanek will get a big, long term contract from the Wild. Maybe he takes a hometown discount.

  18. djshnooks - Jun 15, 2014 at 2:16 PM

    Still an excellent move by Darcy Regier.

    Loved the guy but he had to go, or else the Sabres get NOTHING for him and he walks. I can’t believe so many Sabres fans still don’t understand this and are mad.

  19. rsmaggiemae - Jun 15, 2014 at 2:56 PM

    purpleguy
    I am assuming that Vanek might take a discount in his salary since his wife is from here and they live about 35 miles from me… she wants to come back home, and wouldnt you think that after playing so long, he would have money piled up in the bank for the future????
    So maybe money is not that big of a deal to him any longer but he has to say something else in the press.
    I listened in French from Montreal interviews where Vanak admits he play was terrible in the playoffs but he felt he had to chemistry with the lines he was put on by the coach, he just did not catch on with the Habs….
    I would hope the Wild could sign him for 5 years with bonus depending on his play, whats the difference in paying Brodzy 3 mil a year for nothing, and paying this guy who can score if given a chance

  20. rsmaggiemae - Jun 16, 2014 at 1:46 PM

    killat93
    I dont personally dislke Russo, but being only 40 years old, he can only talk about hockey around his age bracket and the players he can identify with, I would like someone a tad older who can recognize all the good players from years ago, like Orr, Bealiveau, Pocket Rocket,The Rocket, etc You see I am much older than you and there is never any mention of the older players of the 60’s70’s who were fantastic…. they seem to never be given any credit to the game they played Russo bases everything on the current players or those of the 90’s probably due to the fact he has never watched a game with Orr in it….

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