The Minnesota Wild have bolstered an already talented group of forwards by agreeing to terms on a three-year contract with free-agent winger Thomas Vanek, the team announced Tuesday.
Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune and TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported the terms of the deal.
Three years, $19.5 million for Vanek. 6.5 AAV. Turned down more money, more term elsewhere. #mnwild—
Michael Russo (@Russostrib) July 01, 2014
Vanek breakdown, $5.5 M, $6.5 M, $7.5M—
Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) July 01, 2014
Vanek — who played college hockey at the University of Minnesota — was rumored and speculated to be heading to the Wild for over a year, so this news is not surprising at all.
He joins a Minnesota team that needs additional scoring depth after it finished 24th in goals scored and ranked 16th in power-play percentage last season. He should fit well alongside top-line center Mikko Koivu.
The 30-year-old winger tallied 27 goals and 41 assists in 78 games split between the Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders and Montreal Canadiens last season. Vanek posted 10 points in 17 playoff games for Montreal.
Vanek has scored 20-plus goals in nine consecutive seasons and is among the top power-play forwards in the league. He’ll also bring good speed, playmaking skill and 53 games of playoff experience to a Minnesota roster with a lot of young talent.
This signing is further proof that the Wild wants to win now. After spending nearly $200 million in free agency two years ago to acquire Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, expectations skyrocketed for the franchise. Vanek’s arrival will make anything less than a return trip to Round 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs a huge disappointment.
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