Canadiens acquire Vanek from Islanders

The Associated Press
NHL teams make a flurry of deals before deadline
In this Dec. 5, 2013, photo, New York Islanders' Thomas Vanek, of Austria, looks to pass as St. Louis Blues' David Backes defends during an NHL hockey game in St. Louis. The Montreal Canadiens have acquired Vanek from the Islanders. Montreal sent forward prospect Sebastien Collberg, a 2014 second-round pick and a conditional fifth-rounder to the Islanders for Vanek on Wednesday, March 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

MONTREAL (AP) -- The Montreal Canadiens have acquired winger Thomas Vanek from the New York Islanders.

Montreal sent forward prospect Sebastien Collberg and a conditional 2014 second-round pick to the Islanders for Vanek and a conditional fifth-rounder on Wednesday. The draft picks will only change hands if Montreal makes the playoffs.

''When you think of a hockey Mecca, Montreal is it,'' Vanek said on a conference call. ''I played many times for Buffalo in Montreal and it's so electric. I'm super excited.''

Vanek, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, becomes the Canadiens' leading scorer with 53 points. The 30-year-old Austrian player is in the final season of a $50 million, seven-year contract.

It's the second time Vanek has been traded this season. The Islanders gave up winger Matt Moulson along with first- and second-round picks to get Vanek from Buffalo in late October.

The 30-year-old would not speculate on whether he would seek a new contract to stay in Montreal after this season.

''It's been a tough year for me and my family,'' he said. ''I knew there was a chance we'd move again. Now it's over and I'm a Montreal Canadien and I can just focus on hockey and helping that team win a lot of games.''

Vanek was picked fifth overall by Buffalo in 2003. He had his best season in 2006-07 with 43 goals and 84 points. In 645 career NHL games with the Islanders and Sabres, Vanek has totaled 271 goals and 270 assists.

Collberg was Montreal's second-round pick in the 2012 draft.