Thomas Vanek: Isles' move to Brooklyn was deterrent in re-signing

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When Thomas Vanek signed a three-year, $19.5 million deal with the Minnesota Wild last summer, it put an end to hockey’s worst-kept secret that the forward would end up in the “State of Hockey.”

But New York Islanders GM Garth Snow felt he could sell Vanek on Long Island after trading for him last October. It was a long-shot, but worth it for a franchise desperate to turn around their fortunes.

Vanek developed chemistry with John Tavares on the top line, scoring 17 times and registering 44 points, but the wins didn’t pile up and the playoffs soon became out of reach. Despite the lost season, Snow hoped that Vanek’s time with the team could lead to a contract. He tried; reportedly offering him seven years and $49 million. That didn’t work. But maybe if Snow had spoken with some Nassau Country politicians ahead of time, no. 26 would currently be worn by someone other than Tyler Kennedy.

With Vanek and the Wild visiting the Islanders Tuesday night, the question of ‘What happened?” was asked:

From NHL.com:

"It was close in February [2014] and I thought about it long and hard," Vanek said at Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday. "There was two factors; I made a choice that I really wanted to go to free agency. But after being here for a while I loved it here.

"The one thing I didn't like was the move to Brooklyn. I think if the rink would have been built here, it should be here on the island. There was probably a good chance I still would be here.”

Charles Wang announced the deal with Barclays Center a little over a year before the Islanders acquired Vanek, so he was basically already out the door once they traded for him.

But it’s also interesting to hear a player state the new digs at Barclays played a role in not re-signing. Vanek did cite that having his wife and kids travel to Brooklyn on gamedays factored into his decision.

Despite Vanek's nice words about his short stay on Long Island, he'll probably hear some boo-birds every time he touches the puck Tuesday night. The decibels might even rise a bit if he can extend his NHL-best eight-game point streak and help lead the Wild to a third-straight win.

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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