The Montreal Canadiens pulled off the biggest move of the NHL Trade Deadline on Wednesday afternoon as they acquired Thomas Vanek from the New York Islanders in exchange for a second-round draft pick and prospect Sebastian Collberg. This was a move that undoubtedly will be viewed as a win for the Canadiens, both in the near future and moving into future seasons.
In Vanek, the Canadiens will be getting a guy who is as pure a goal scorer as they come. At 6-foot-2, 205 pounds. he has good size, which he likes to use to get in front of the net to tip in goals and pound home rebounds. When you combine these assets with a guy who has a cannon of a shot, who has scored more than 30 goals four different times at the NHL level and who is only 30-years old, you have an impact performer down the stretch and going into the playoffs.
The Canadiens can surely use what Vanek has to offer. Outside of Max Pacioretty, the team has nobody who is having a lights out season in terms of scoring goals. What they do have is one of the best goalies in the NHL in Carey Price, an above-average defense led by reigning Norris Trophy winner P.K. Subban, and the third-place spot in the Eastern Conference.
Adding a guy who can be a difference-maker in terms of scoring goals only adds to their playoff potential, and makes them a team to watch this Spring.
Moving forward, the Canadiens have an exciting proposition in front of them in that Vanek is going to be a free agent after the season, and will therefore have to earn any contract he receives. Based on past performances, he should be worth roughly $7.5 million per year, which could fit in nicely to the Canadiens’ salary situation considering they only have $46.6 million committed for 2014-15.
That Montreal only had to give up a non-premier draft pick and prospect who is a project is a great move, and one that will prove fruitful both this season and in the future.