Thomas Vanek might not be the elite player he once was, but he’s still a solid contributor which makes the fact that he remains unsigned as we near September surprising. His wait might be nearing its end though.
”I do feel optimistic that something will come through for both of these guys in the next week or two,” Vanek’s agent agent Steve Bartlett said on Buffalo’s WGR 550, per TSN.ca. “And I think definitely the temperature has risen from teams around the league on both players.”
The other player Bartlett was referring to was Drew Stafford, who has since signed a one-year deal with New Jersey. That adds more foundation to Bartlett’s words.
Vanek had 17 goals and 48 points in 68 contests with the Detroit Red Wings and Florida Panthers in 2016-17, which isn’t bad production considering he was averaging a modest 14:24 minutes per game. In fact, for what it’s worth Vanek did finish 16th in the league in points per 60 minutes, which was just below the 75-point Vladimir Tarasenko, who of course got considerably more ice time.
That’s not to suggest that Vanek could have done as well as Tarasenko had they gotten equal use, but it does highlight how productive Vanek was relative to his minutes. He could be a nice bargain bin pickup for whatever team finally inks him.