Dec 29, 2013; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Islanders forward Thomas Vanek (26) against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Islanders defeated the Wild 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

It's Time To Re-Sign Thomas Vanek

Dec 23, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Islanders left wing Thomas Vanek (26) skates with the puck as Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith (2) falls to the ice in the third period at Joe Louis Arena. New York won 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

October 27th, 2013 would be the date the New York Islanders surprised the NHL.

On a relatively quiet Sunday evening, media outlets reported and duly confirmed that the New York Islanders had traded Matt Moulson, a 2014 first round pick and a 2015 second round pick, to the Buffalo Sabres for prized scorer Thomas Vanek.

It was a foregone conclusion that Vanek, a pending Unrestricted Free Agent, would be leaving the Sabres by the end of the season, but no one imagined he’d come to Long Island.

Fast forward to the present, and Thomas Vanek has clearly settled in after a bit of an adjustment period. He’s done just what all hoped he’d do, generating offense and scoring goals, as he’s earned 28 points in 29 games with the Islanders, currently on a career-best 10 game point streak.

The Austrian forward has undoubtedly been a catalyst in jump-starting the Islanders scoring in the last few games, recording 10 points in the team’s last six games, five of which resulted in Islanders wins.

His offense has been more than reliable, and he’s stepped up and produced when the team has needed offensive surges.

‘Tis no mystery that Vanek has ties with Minnesota.

Regardless, if Vanek wants to ever win a Stanley Cup, it’s going to be with this team.

Will not happen this season, and it won’t happen as soon as the Islanders move to Brooklyn, either. It may take 4 or 5 seasons to build an elite team here, but it will come, optimism notwithstanding.

Vanek can put the puck in the net, but he also makes the players around him even that much more efficient.

Everyone loves Matt Moulson, and the reasons are plentiful and justified, but he hasn’t the ability to elevate the play of others in the manner Vanek does.

Ask anyone about Moulson during his tenure alongside John Tavares, and you’ll hear “Tavares brought out the best out of Moulson, but Moulson did not bring out the best of Tavares.”

Vanek has helped Kyle Okposo have the best season of his career, and for what it’s worth, Okposo never played well enough to be on the first line while Moulson was on Long Island.

Once Vanek came in, Okposo suddenly becomes the 2nd in points among American players, and is producing at a point-per-game rate.

Harsh it may be, but it’s apparent that Vanek suits the role of first line left wing better than Moulson does in terms of offense. He scores just as much as Moulson does, and he does a better job at improving any line he happens to be one simply by the reputation that precedes him.

The Islanders have what could be a major steal in the works here if they can resign him to a contract. And putting it into perspective, re-signing Thomas Vanek isn’t as far-fetched as it once seemed.

The financial aspect speaks for itself, as the Islanders currently have the NHL’s 3rd least expensive roster in the NHL. They’ve got a whopping $23,378,216 in free cap space according to Cap Geek, and with the salary cap going up this offseason, the Islanders have way more than enough money to give Thomas Vanek whatever salary he wants and still address other issues.

Now, the harder part here is convincing Vanek that the Islanders have a Stanley Cup in the makings within the next few years.

Unfortunately, the Islanders haven’t done much to impress Vanek since he’s arrived, as they still sit at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division and are 9 points out of a playoff spot.

However, the Islanders have arguably the best prospect pool in the NHL, and the big names still really haven’t scratched the surface yet.

If the Islanders can help Vanek see the true potential of this team that should come out in the next 3-5 seasons, then he in all likelihood will re-sign.

Vanek has certainly proven his worth here, and hopefully the Islanders’ front office does what they need to do in order to bring him back.

-PM (@PJMcEntee)

I want to know what you guys think, let me know in the comments or on twitter. And of course, thanks for reading. 




Tags: New York Islanders Nhl Puck Drop Thomas Vanek

  • Jimmy DeMarco

    Whenever you have the, keep Vanek on the Islanders petition, I’ll be the first one to sign.
    Keeping Vanek is a no brainer.

    And with everything you outlined about the future, money and elite prospect talent, and Tavares alone, It’s the perfect pitch to get him to resign.

    • Peter McEntee

      Thanks! I really appreciate the feedback and the read. Vanek, like I said in the article, is a core asset to this offense, and he is what will really advance the team on the offensive perspective alongside Tavares. The Isles most certainly need to re-sign him.

      • Jimmy DeMarco

        You’re welcome. Great article.
        I completely agree.
        Players of Vanek’s ability to score & make players around him better, don’t fall in your lap everyday. And to be able to match him with Tavares, that’s an absolute gimme.

        I would just like to see Garty get us a goaltender and upgrade our defense a little.

        We’re close, just like you said. And we’ll be competing for the brass ring in a few years.

        • Peter McEntee

          That’s the advantage of the cap space here. Garth has plenty to go and give Vanek 7-8 mil and ink a goalie for 4-5 and STILL have plenty of spending money if he decided to do more. He knows the team’s needs, and they probably will get a goaltender in the offseason with all these UFA’s. As for defense, I think if we can bolster up goaltending and have Visnovsky healthy, it’s fine the way it is

          • Jimmy DeMarco

            Yeah. I knew we had the 23 + million you talked about. I don’t know what the cap goes up to next year though.

            & as for possible goalies. You think maybe Halak or Dubnyk would be guys Snow would look into getting?

          • Peter McEntee

            Halak I think will be a target if he decides to leave St. Louis for sure. I’m not sure about Dubnyk, as he’s struggled this year, and there are better options

          • Jimmy DeMarco

            I figured Halak would definitely be a choice, especially with his age. Miller seems to be the guy everyone is talking about too c

          • Peter McEntee

            Personally, I’m not huge on Miller. He has had a great season this year with what he’s been given, but career wise, all time stats are on par with Nabokov’s. And we all feel that he won’t be a number 1 for the team next year, I’d still pursue other options

          • Jimmy DeMarco

            Speaking of Halak… He had another shut out tonight.

          • Peter McEntee

            That’s what we like to hear!

          • Chris

            Cap goes up to 71.1 million

          • Jimmy DeMarco

            So we’ll have around 30 million, give or take a couple.

  • Peter

    Great article. Always enjoy reading about a positive future for the Isles.
    That being said, im afraid signing Vanek is near impossible. The ties to Minnesota seem very strong for him and his family. Also they are starting to put together a real contending team. Signing Suter and Parise was ovbiously huge for them. Can he stay healthy, Josh Harding is providing great goaltending. His old friend Jason Pomminville is proven to be good for them. A certain Nino Niedereiter is leading the prospect pool, along with Matt Dumba and Mikael Granlund.
    I really hope he stays, because as you mentioned he is a great player, and he looks like a leader on the ice.
    I just hope Garth knows what he is doing, and either sign him in time, or makes a move before the deadline. Othervise we are going to lose him, two valuable draftpicks and Moulson who i am sure would have signed an extension. Best case scenario. We re-sign Vanek and Moulson comes back as a free agent.

    • Peter McEntee

      That best-case scenario would be great. I think Vanek knows this team’s potential, but it’s going to be tough to land him w/ the MInnesota ties. Hopefully a deal does get done though, it’d be big for the team

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  • Chris

    Islanders Offseason To-do-list

    1. Sign Vanek.
    2. Get one of the UFA Goalies (Miller, Hiller, Halak, Elliott) Miller likely will go to STL.
    3. Get a defenceman. (Orpik would be a dream, Matt Grene, Joni Pitkanen).
    4. Trade Bailey for another Clutterbuck like player for the 3 line on the LW.
    5. Resign the RFA´s de Haan, Lee, Cizikas, Nilsson, Donovan and call up Reinhart.

    • jl9830a

      I think you mean Orpik would be a nightmare.

    • Peter McEntee

      Wishful to some extent, but I could see Halak, maybe Ott there too. I think Garth won’t go after d, except MAYBE, and don’t get me wrong, this is a LONGSHOT, possibly pursue PK Subban, who is an RFA this offseason. Probably won’t end up happening, but Garth may look into it. Would not shock me. For me, I just feel Pitkanen, while he is a good defenseman, has too much of an injury history, and we don’t need a Visnovsky repeat

  • Let’s Go Isles 12

    Pete you’ve got me pumped!!! A cup possiblity within 4-5 years!!! Sign me the HELL UP!!! And the Vanek re-signing petition as well!

    • Peter McEntee

      Love it!!!!

    • Bababoie to y’all!


  • Colin Smith

    Honestly, I think that while St. Louis is a very real option, we would have to be considered frontrunners for Miller if we re-sign Vanek. However, I’ve read some rumors that say Garth is chatting with the Caps to see if he can wrestle Neuvirth and Orlov away from them. A potential deal may center around AMac. Sign me up please.

  • Bababoie to y’all!

    How can you credit Vanek for KO’s career year? Thats just ridiculous. KO was gonna have a great year on JT’s wing with or without Vanek. KO was on the 1st line with Moulson and JT. This blogger must not be watching the games or something. Or he just turned on the games when Vanek arrived because KO JT and MOulson were on fire when he was traded. KO is his own man and hes successful because of how hard he plays. He has been progressing every year since he arrived.