By PowerPlayCJ @powerplaywithcj on June 5, 2014
After a disappointing playoff run with the Montreal Canadiens, Thomas Vanek will look to move on to greener pastures this offseason. While his lackluster playoffs surely scared off some suitors and cost him some money in the process, he will still be a sought after commodity on the open market. The following five teams make sense for the Austrian sniper, and one thing is for sure: He will not be returning to Montreal.
After being acquired, turning down a massive extension and being traded away, it looked like that proverbial ship had sailed. However, his positive comments about his brief time as an Isle during his exit interview in Montreal shows that door may still be (slightly) open.
While this may be a longshot, the Panthers have cap room, enticing young talent and a need for scoring. Florida's shoestring budget may be the only thing that keeps this union from happening, but if they do open their checkbooks the fit is there. Vanek would bring the Panthers their most exciting goal scorer since Pavel Bure owned the ice in the early 2000s.
Vanek would need to get his act together if he were to play under Darryl Sutter, but the Kings could be another “perfect” situation for Vanek. Los Angeles offers Vanek a world class city and a perennial contending team. Vanek would offer the Kings much-needed scoring, especially if Mike Richards and Marian Gaborik leave the Kings this offseason.
This is the most natural fit, as Vanek played for the Golden Gophers and resides in Minnesota during the summer. Minnesota also has cap room and a bevy of young talent that with Vanek could reach contender status. It could be a win-win, but the Wild also have to re-sign many of their young players over the next two summers.
With veterans Daniel Alfredsson and Todd Bertuzzi likely retiring, the Wings will need another veteran forward with 40-goal seasons on their resume. While Detroit also has young talent to re-sign, adding Vanek could help the Wings while also helping Vanek rediscover his game. The Wings love reclamation projects, and Vanek could be just that as his stock is pretty low right now.
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