Thomas Vanek is a pending unrestricted free agent on a New York Islanders team that doesn’t look like it’s going to be in playoff contention once the March 5 trade deadline rolls around.
“Well, I’m not ignorant about it,” Vanek said. “I know the scenario and what could happen for me. But my thought process is I do like it here. This team to me is really a team. I think the potential is a lot more than we’ve shown. We’ve shown we can play with the best teams.
“Hopefully I can then stay here and finish off the year, but I do understand the business side of it. Am I worried if I get a phone call tomorrow about something? No, I’m really not. It’s the business side of it. So be it. This business is what I signed up for. We’re talking. I like it here. I do think there’s a ways to go, but you never know.”
Vanek has 11 goals and 16 assists in 28 games for the Isles, and a future playing alongside John Tavares is certainly an enticing one for any player to imagine. But like Vanek says, there’s a business side to this, and right now he’s looking at a contract similar to, say, the eight-year, $64 million extension Phil Kessel got in Toronto. Is that something the Isles would be willing to entertain? And if it is, would he sign the extension before the trade deadline? Because the Isles won’t want to risk losing him for nothing.