When the New York Islanders acquired Thomas Vanek in October, the second thought in everyone's minds -- after "Huh?" -- was what assets general manager Garth Snow could acquire if he flipped the forward at the March trade deadline. We're quickly approaching that time.
Vanek and his agent said last week that he still hasn't made up his mind about whether or not he'd re-sign with the Islanders before the trade deadline. He even added that even if they did trade him, the Vanek would listen to an offer from Snow this summer when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
Well, time to get in line, Islanders.
NHL sources told Newsday that Vanek, acquired from the Sabres on Oct. 27, turned down a substantial contract offer from the Isles and that general manager Garth Snow is fielding offers for the 30-year-old wing.
The offer is believed to be in the same range as Vanek's current seven-year, $50 million deal. That contract expires on June 30.
Vanek has never been a UFA before. He's never had the pleasure of gobs of NHL teams making presentations and trying to woo him to play for their team. If the offer the Islanders made was indeed similar to what he's making now, of course he's going to test the market. Some team out there will be sure to pony up more than $7 million a season for his services, despite his success since arriving on Long Island.
Since lining up with John Tavares and Kyle Okposo, Vanek has been part of one of the NHL's best lines. The trio have combined for 70 points together. In 41 games with the Islanders he's scored 15 goals and recorded 38 points.
The Islanders spend just above the salary cap floor every season, so this is a special exception to offer up that kind of dough. But Vanek is a player worth digging deeper into the wallet for. And now that Snow has an answer, he can finally make the trade he should have in October and bring in pieces to fix the blueline and potentially find a solution in net going forward.
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