A handful of tweets about Montreal forward Thomas Vanek, both during and after his performance in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final:
So…not overly positive. Vanek finished the game with one shot, and in addition to getting ripped on social media, was called out by Don Cherry (video) for his defensive coverage on the Rangers’ first goal — “you talk about a guy in a fog” — as well as the “stupid” slashing penalty he took in the first period that negated a Montreal power play.
Now, to be fair, Vanek does have five goals in the playoffs, tied with Lars Eller and Rene Bourque for the most on the Canadiens. It wasn’t long ago that Montreal general manager Marc Bergevin was being celebrated for getting Vanek from the Islanders for cheap.
But if you ask Grapes about Vanek, “This guy’s mind is in Minnesota,” where it’s been widely speculated the ex-Gopher will sign this summer when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
Question for discussion — if you’re Wild GM Chuck Fletcher, how much would you be willing to give the 30-year-old winger? Because the Islanders were reportedly willing to give him a lot, and the Sabres were reportedly willing to give him a lot. Which is to say, he’s going to be demanding a lot.
Also consider that Minnesota already has experience with a highly paid winger who scored a lot of goals before he was 30, only to stop scoring so much after he got on the wrong side of that age. Via Hockey Reference, here’s how the numbers look for that guy: