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Going home: Wild sign Vanek — three years, $19.5 million

Jul 1, 2014, 2:04 PM EDT

Thomas Vanek Getty Images

Thomas Vanek‘s long-running desire to return home has come true.

The Minnesota Wild have signed the 30-year-old Austrian forward to a three-year, $19.5 million deal.

Vanek, a national championship winner with the Minnesota Golden Gophers, had long been considered the favorite to sign in Minnesota. Last season, the final year of his contract with the Buffalo Sabres, he was traded twice, winding up with the New York Islanders and then the Montreal Canadiens.

It was with Montreal some felt Vanek cost himself a big payday with a poor showing in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Now he’ll join a Wild team that made the second-round of the postseason and gave the Chicago Blackhawks a run for their money.

“I wasn’t afraid of going on a shorter term,” Vanek told TSN. “I feel like the team is going in the right direction.”

With Vanek joining Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu, Charlie Coyle, and Mikael Granlund they’ve got a dynamic group of offensive players. Considering the Western Conference is only getting more difficult to play in, he’ll help the Wild in a big way.

  1. numba1wiscosportsfan - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:06 PM

    Such a crowd pleaser!! He might be a dirty Goph, but he’s MY GUY now! Welcome home there, guy!

    • numba1wiscosportsfan - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:33 PM

      Plz stop thumbs-downing my comment, thanks!

    • rsmaggiemae - Jul 2, 2014 at 1:16 PM

      I am also happy that Vanek came home to Minnesota
      I read the news releases out of Montreal which were in fremch, and I would not wish what they said about him on my dog it was that terrible, I wont repeat it.
      I listened to his interview on the NHL tv show and you could hear the excitement in his voice about coming back to Minnesota and maybe this is what he needs,it will surely give him more of a incentive to play in front of hometown fans again as he did when he was a Gopher
      I just wish that fans would lay off of him a bit, give the guy a chance, he can score goals, some are not pretty but this is what the Wild lack a finisher as with a 2.4 goals per game that is not going to win a cup
      a lot fans are comparing him to Heatly and you cant do that they both play different styles of hockey.. and this may turn out to be a steal for the Wild and if he does welll hopefullly they will resign him again as he had great chemistry with Pomanville

  2. strictlythedanks - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:07 PM

    Vanek will send the rest of the central into a panic

    • habs9 - Jul 2, 2014 at 2:43 PM

      oh he’ll definetly help……during the season…….the rest is very uncertain imo…good luck Vanek you helped us out at the end of the season!

  3. pjblake2redwings - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:07 PM

    Islanders offered him 7mil a yr but he turned it down for Wild.. maybe they shouldnt have dumped him at the deadline

    • rjmisles1980 - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:36 PM

      So Vanek leaves $30 Million on the table by turning down Isles offer, and people think this is a good thing? Last I checked, the Islanders money is the same color as the Wild’s. If I was Vanek I would look for a new agent. I mean is it really worth $30 Million to play for your home team.

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Jul 1, 2014 at 4:11 PM

        It’s worth whatever he decides it’s worth. Vanek made a lot of money on his last contract (thank to the Oilers) and he’s getting paid well now, as long as he’s not out spending his money like crazy he’s pretty much set for life, perhaps he decided that living in Minnesota (where he already lives in the offseason) and raising his kids in that environment suits him better than Long Island/Brooklyn does.

      • milhousemn - Jul 1, 2014 at 4:15 PM

        $7M/yr * 3 years = $21M. Wild gave him $19.5. Looks to me like he left $1.5M on the table, which is approximately a 7% hometown discount, not $30M.

      • wutangwild - Jul 1, 2014 at 4:34 PM

        Ya know…there’s more to life than money, such as family, his business, hockey camps, and friends ALL of which Vanek already has in MN. Heck, his best friend from the Sabres is already here, and Snow would probably have flipped him for some late round picks next year. MN is a great place to live, except last winter, and it’s clear that he likes it here. Don’t quote me on this but I think the MN school system for the little Vanek’s is better than NY

      • endusersolutions2013 - Jul 1, 2014 at 5:06 PM

        Think it was also a matter of wanting to play for a team that has a good chance of going beyond the 1st round.

      • rjmisles1980 - Jul 2, 2014 at 8:32 AM

        @milhousemn – he only leaves $1.5M on the table if he is able to sign another 4-yr deal for $28.5M AFTER this contract expires, what are the odds of that happening? In any case, good luck to him, I enjoyed his stay on Long Island, thought he did well playing with Tavares/Okposo, but at the end of the day I think trading Moulson was a huge mistake by Snow.

      • rsmaggiemae - Jul 7, 2014 at 5:02 PM

        If you have never been to Minnesota then you dont have a clue what it is like to live here..we have over 17,000 lakes with parks galore, everything is done outside even in the winter time
        Vanek lives in one of the most beautiful areas of Minnesota on the Marine St Croix River about 35 miles east of Mpls St Paul, its where the very wealthy live including the general manager of the Wild
        I am sure being his wife is from here that had a huge impact on his decision, and anyway he has piled away over 60 milllion in his tenure so far, and that does not include any bonus pay or endorsements.. but how much money can really make you happy in life???
        He loves it here as playing for the Univ of Minnesota for college he is one of us and we do like him for what he brought to the state a NCAA Championship
        so I do understand giving up all the xtra money
        He is happy and so is his family…

  4. robocop3999 - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:09 PM

    Minnesota a goalie away from being a serious contender. Harding can be that guy, but his MS is preventing him from it 😦

    • pfhockey - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:11 PM

      Should’ve signed Hiller, the flames got such a steal.

    • lordfletcher - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:22 PM

      let the Harding situation play itself out, who knows what can happen.

      Backs can still be a quality goalie, yet slow…

      Kuemper is only going to get better.

      I am glad they didn’t have to get into a bidding war for Miller and Hiller sucks anyhow

      great deal for MN in signing Vanek for only 3 years!

      • lordfletcher - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:30 PM

        look at the day so far for the Central

        Hawks: None
        Avs: Iginla
        Stars: Spezza, Hemsky
        Nsh – Neal
        Stl – Statsny
        Jets: Perreault

      • 19to77 - Jul 1, 2014 at 4:04 PM

        What an arms race the day has been. I love it. This is the best free agency period in years.

  5. clarke16 - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:10 PM

    Yeah baby! Nice job on the terms, Chuck… :)

    Now send Koivu over to the Preds already…

    • guitarisgood4u - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:13 PM

      Maybe if we threw in Backs and got Rinne in return.

  6. pfhockey - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:10 PM

    Not a bad deal if he provides the scoring the Wild need. Looks good. They’ll have a great top 6 unless Koivu is gone.

    • lbeezyse - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:15 PM

      They will have a very good top 9 now.
      Parise – Koivu – Coyle
      Granlund – Pommer – Vanek
      Haula – Nino – Fontaine/Zucker Still don’t count out an Iggy signing.

      My only worry is size and grit now that Stoner is gone. Willie Mitchell would be a start. The Wild must resign McCormick now with Thornton off the market.

      The Wild are fine in nets for now with Backs/Harding/Keumper. Goaltending wasn’t our issue last year. It was scoring which was addressed with Vanek.

      • nvandy42 - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:26 PM

        I’d say the top 9 is more like this….

        Parise – Koivu – Coyle
        Vanek – Granlund – Pomminville
        Cooke – Haula – Nino

        We still have Cooke to add some grit, but I agree bringing back McCormick would be a good move. Also, I don’t know a ton about him, but I’m excited to see what Folin does with his size on the back end.

        It’s gonna be an exciting season in Minny!!

      • lbeezyse - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:30 PM

        Sorry, Cooke slipped my mind in the moments of bliss.

      • youngs79 - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:46 PM

        McCormick has already signed with the Sabres

      • clarke16 - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:58 PM

        You’re both wrong if you think Parise-Koivu-Coyle is the top line anymore.

      • guitarisgood4u - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:15 PM

        That potential scoring line of Vanek – Granlund – Pominville makes me flood like Minnehaha

      • nvandy42 - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:25 PM

        I don’t think there will be much distinction between lines 1 and 2, to be honest. It will probably be more of a 1 and 1a depending on matchups. Also, I could see Vanek and Parise flip-flopping throughout the season after the Parise-Granny-Pomminville line showed so much chemistry last year.

      • guitarhunterdude - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:51 PM

        I’m hopeful that Keranen or Zucker has a good camp, giving us


        Assuming that Keranen/Zucker plays well enough to deserve that spot, that’s a contender-calibe forward group. If Brodin, Folin, and the forward kids progress, and Kuemper/Harding are an effective timeshare in net…look out.

        I’ve never been this excited about this team, not even after the Parise-Suter signings. They really could be something special next year.

      • wutangwild - Jul 1, 2014 at 6:27 PM


        those lines would be my exact choice as well, the only people that have anything to prove are zucker, keranen and bulmer. zucker has shown flashes and if he can work on his defensive game, him and holla together would be the fastest third line in the league, with chuck (the beast on the boards) fishing pucks out of the corners. I liked what i’ve seen from bulmer, hopefully he can stay healthy. crazy to think of not too long ago when mikko was injured, brodz was our no. 1 center 😮

      • wildskater - Jul 1, 2014 at 6:54 PM

        I’ll take guys who can actually play over the ones you have noted. Us losing Stoner makes us better. Willie Mitchell is an older more expensive version of Stoner. McCormick and Thornton aren’t very good either.

        Grit really doesn’t translate in the new NHL better than skill does. If we get players who can help us control the puck we won’t need to punch their faces, we will have the puck too much to defend or face punch.

      • rsmaggiemae - Jul 1, 2014 at 6:58 PM

        you cannot put Koivu on the first line, he disappears on the ice. look at the last 2 playoff rounds where has he been??? same with regualr games needs to be on 3rd or 4th line move haula up

  7. fightingwild - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:13 PM

    The question is, are the Wild still in on Iginla? If so & they get him how about that top 9?

    • lordfletcher - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:23 PM

      no per Russo and Bob M. Wild are out of iggy

      I see em going after stralman now

      • fightingwild - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:30 PM

        Yeah I saw that too, Still have 13 million in cap space & have to sign 5 RFA’s. Cake walk…

    • getadealdonealready - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:30 PM

      I don’t think there is room for Iggy, it would cost some of our young kids PT, and there are too many who are ready to play right now.

  8. entitymn - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:13 PM

    That’s quite a big splash. If there’s chemistry and he fits Yeo’s system, formidable indeed.

    • lbeezyse - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:17 PM

      He should have immediate chemistry with Pomminville & with the way Granlund see’s the ice I have no worries.

  9. billiam55 - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:15 PM


  10. yetidad - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:16 PM

    Even though I have been against signing Vanek in general, three years is not a long term marriage and he should help with scoring. However, he needs to show the locals some real character in his game and help lead the youngsters we have. Now, what about getting Iginla?

    • wildskater - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:01 PM

      Curious to why your against Vanek but you wanted to sign Iginla because Vanek is the better or the 2.

  11. clarke16 - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:18 PM

    Vanek-Granny-Pommer is the sweet #1 new top line! That’s a line that will prove to have wicked chemistry and looks to tear it up next season… Geeked!

    • youngs79 - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:49 PM

      If Zach Parise is not on the line, It will never be the Wild’s #1 line, period!

      • clarke16 - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:01 PM

        Sorry son, it’s not a beauty contest… Keep learning.

      • rsmaggiemae - Jul 1, 2014 at 11:51 PM

        One of the issues I have with Yeo, is that he seems afraid to bemch his star players if they are not playing well its like he does not want to hurt thier feelings and that should not be the case i just hope he moves koivu down not worth the 6.5 mil a year anymore

      • ashtongronholz8 - Jul 2, 2014 at 8:53 AM

        Not sure if you’re trolling? But, it’s hard to argue against a Vanek-Granny-Pommer line not being a legitimate number one over a Parise line. Regardless, I think next year will be very exciting with the solid lineup were bringing to the table.

    • rsmaggiemae - Jul 1, 2014 at 11:48 PM

      I agree with you 100% as Vanek had great chemistry with Pomanville, and the Wild have to move Koivu down and move Haula up as Koivu has seen his best days he has disappeared during the playoff both years now not worth the 6.5 mil a year
      Thnk of it this way
      We now have 3 plaeyrs1-ND 1-wisc 1mn who have turned down more money just to play back at home in Minnesota. that is a huge compliment to our state, the people and the hockey fans. it shows that they have character and money does not alway make you happy as Vanek was suffering in all the other cities
      and I cant forget our adopted Finnesotan,Eric Haula who has always wanted to be a Wild player and to think he wasd a 7th round draft pick what a STEAL

  12. phtjoey - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:28 PM

    Short term contract, but justified considering he’s a floater. Is 6 mil p/year too much? Probably.

    • wildskater - Jul 1, 2014 at 8:12 PM

      Ummmm, you do realize other teams out there offered him more money right?

  13. bhinrichs9 - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:35 PM

    All I ask is that you move your feet Vanek! Can’t wait to see you put 30+ in the back of the net!

  14. mnwildfan15 - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:38 PM

    And we can build this thing together, standing strong forever, nothing’s gonna stop us now.
    And if this world runs out of lovers we’ll still have each other.
    Nothing’s gonna stop us, nothing’s gonna stop us now.

    • credible316 - Jul 1, 2014 at 4:17 PM


      • mnwildfan15 - Jul 1, 2014 at 5:21 PM

        The soon to be Super Bowl Champions, Minnesota Wild! #proudmemberofthecommonwealth

  15. getadealdonealready - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:51 PM

    Welcome back to MN!!!!! Love what this organization is doing, but not crazy how the West and specifically the Central seem to get stronger and stronger! Can’t wait for opening day!!!!

  16. youngs79 - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:52 PM

    Russo guessed Parise – Granlund – Pomminville #1
    Vanek – Koivu – Coyle #2

    To start the season.

    • clarke16 - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:04 PM

      Not a chance they don’t–at least to start have these two on the same line…

    • 19cbd87 - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:07 PM

      Parises production was much better when he was out with Granlund and Pomminville and he brought some defencive intensity to that line. Hopefully Vanek can find chemistry with Koivu and Coyle, who can also cover up for his lack of defence as they are both solid two way players.

      • clarke16 - Jul 1, 2014 at 11:51 PM

        EVERYBODY’s production is better when they play on a line with Pommer. He’s one of those types of players… Best move Fletcher has made to date was scoring Poms.

  17. homegrowntalentmn - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:58 PM

    Welcome home! I agree with the line of vanek grany pomms. Gonna be pretty fun to watch. Now we need to add some depth on the blue line. Cause stoner got wayyyy over paid.

  18. President Charles Logan - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:20 PM

    Hey Minny fans , glad ya’ll got “your guy” …. enjoy his lazy one way non back-checking style of hockey for the next 3 years… if he isnt already dealt again this up coming season by March.

    • wutangwild - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:29 PM

      well seeing how the Heater experiment ended, we are well used to that. put him on a line that is responsible defensively (and not playing with the likes of Weise, Moen etc.) and with our growing D-corps, we should be fine

    • numba1wiscosportsfan - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:32 PM

      He was MY GUY before he was YOUR GUY!

    • tved12 - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:56 PM

      Considering out GAA and last year, I think we can sacrifice a little defense for some goals. Remember, a lot of it is about the player fitting the team. In Montreal they already had good goal scoring, they were lacking defensively. It’s the exact opposite here in MN.

      We will enjoy, very much. Thanks for your wishes.

  19. credible316 - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:22 PM

  20. wutangwild - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:26 PM

    my two cents: keep pommer and vanek on the same line, they had great chemistry back in Buf. Koivu-Parise and Chuck as the other line, with each getting about equal minutes. I hope Nino gets some looks at the top 6 because he has the talent. can we fast forward to October already?

  21. graymalkin26 - Jul 1, 2014 at 11:26 PM

    Playoff choker…look good in Minnesota with the rest of the losers haaha.

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