Thomas Vanek has three points in four playoff games for the Montreal Canadiens, and that total could climb in Round 2 considering how much of a Boston Bruins killer he’s been in his career – 56 points in 49 games.
It’s exciting times for the scoring winger, and they’re bound to get more exciting this summer when Vanek goes UFA.
While there might be many suitors, there’s really only one destination mentioned prominently for Vanek: The Minnesota Wild, the state where he played his college hockey and the team on which his close friend Jason Pominville plays.
It’s pretty much the worst kept secret in hockey that this match will be made, and Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press furthers the point in a column on Tuesday:
This summer, look for [Craig] Leipold, the Wild owner, to spend whatever it takes -- probably another $40 million or so -- to add free agent Thomas Vanek to the roster. Simple math shows what impact Vanek could have on the Wild. This season, in 78 games for three NHL teams -- Buffalo, the Islanders and Montreal -- the former Gophers winger scored 27 goals. Vanek, 30, presumably will replace Dany Heatley, 33, in the Wild offense and salary slot. In 76 regular-season games this season, Heatley scored 12 goals.
(Walters previously was the guy who reported the Wild lost $30 million in 2012-13, and appears to have a “little birdie” in ownership or management.)
Vanek is in the last year of a 7-year, $50-million contract, so we’re not exactly sure where that $40 million figure comes from. But if the Wild are in, it’s hard to imagine this long-rumored match not being made … unless he really, really loves Montreal.