The Minnesota Wild have taken another step in the right directions by signing Thomas Vanek to a three-year deal. In one of the worst-kept secrets in the NHL, Vanek was expected to sign with the Wild this offseason to reunite with long-time buddy Jason Pominville and return to the state in which he played his college hockey.
The Vanek signing gives the Wild another offensive weapon, making them a bigger threat in the Western Conference.
Vanek was traded twice this season, once to the New York Islanders and then to the Montreal Canadiens. He had 68 points this season between the three teams he played for, but wasn’t the game-changer in the playoffs that he was expected to be. His playoff run obviously hurt his value because he was looking for a contract much longer than three years.
The Wild already have a boatload of talent up front with players like Zach Parise, Pominville, Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter. Vanek gives them a presence in front of the net and a bonafide goal scorer. Sometimes teams want a little more than he can actually give them, but he is a special offensive talent. He will help the team’s five-on-five play and the PP unit because of his ability to get to the dirty areas.
The Wild were one of the surprise teams of the playoffs last year, winning one round and playing the Chicago Blackhawks very closely. They bolstered their offense even more by signing Vanek, a move that will help them become contenders next season.