On more than a few occasions, Thomas Vanek has stated how much he’s enjoying his time with the New York Islanders. After being traded by the Buffalo Sabres to Long Island in exchange for Matt Moulson, Vanek claimed he’d be open to resigning with the Islanders. An unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, the Austrian forward wanted to stay out of talks until they gained momentum, but also continued to stress that he liked playing for the Islanders. For all intents and purposes, it sounded like the idea of resigning with New York was a big possibility.
If the recent reports are true, the chances of this occurring might not be as likely as initially thought.
Word is the Islanders made a “substantial” offer to Vanek in attempts to resign him, an offer that he apparently turned down. Now, instead of the Islanders and Vanek working on a contract to keep him in New York, apparently the team will now focus on trying to move him before the March 5 trade deadline.
It’s an odd twist, especially with how often Vanek told the media his positive feelings towards the Islanders. One would think that, as long as the offer was to his liking, he would resign with the team. At least that’s the vibe he was putting out. Instead, it’s looking more and more like Vanek could be playing for his third different team this season.
You have to wonder just what exactly “substantial” means when it comes to the contract New York offered Vanek. He’s on the last year of a $50 million deal, and it’s hard to imagine the Islanders attempting to cut his salary. At the same time, New York is struggling to compete this season, and while resigning Vanek would be a solid move, it won’t completely fix the team’s issues. The Isles may have wanted to leave themselves some additional cap room to try and make further improvements, which may have resulted in a contract offer Vanek wasn’t a fan of.
If the rumors of New York looking to move Vanek are true, expect many teams to come out of the woodwork to try and make a deal. He’s still in his prime, and would be a huge offensive boost to a team that needs to get off the playoff bubble.
It’d be a shame if Vanek didn’t resign with the New York, as his praise has been pretty consistent. If there’s any consolation for Islanders fans, Vanek has intimated he’d be willing to come back to the team in the offseason even if he was dealt. Small victories.