The Buffalo Sabres paid a lot of money to make sure left winger Thomas Vanek stayed in the Queen City back in 2007, actually $50 million to be more accurate.
However, in recent seasons he has seemed somewhat flat on the ice and has lacked the ability to scrap in front of the net for the loose pucks. Many viewed last season as a down year for Vanek, because he ended up scoring less than 30 goals. He also had a very disappointing +/- of -6 last season, so he clearly was playing poor hockey for a good portion of the season. It was an all-around miserable fantasy hockey season for Vanek.
On a positive note, Vanek still managed to score 26 goals while also adding 35 helpers in his so-called down year. Vanek has yet to return to his seasons with 40-plus goals, but he has also never scored less than 25 goals in a given season. He has put up 60-plus points in six of his last seven games, so the veteran has shown that he knows how to put the puck in the back of the net.
Vanek is without a doubt the number one offensive option in Buffalo, so he can prove to be an amazing value pick for fantasy owners. He has the potential to finish among the top-ten goal scorers and will get all the opportunities he wants in Buffalo to fire the puck at the net.
TV is also as durable as they come. He has played in at least 70 games in each of his seven NHL seasons and is one player that will suit up every game no matter what. Look for Vanek to play in almost every game and be a fixture on the wing for fantasy owners.
Expect Vanek to finish with over 25 goals and add another 20 assists in this shortened NHL season. He will once again become an elite fantasy scorer on the outside and will be worth starting daily in fantasy leagues.