Thomas Vanek Traded To Florida Panthers

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SAN JOSE, CA - JANUARY 07: Thomas Vanek #62 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on January 7, 2017 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images)

The Detroit Red Wings have begun to sell. The team announced today that Thomas Vanek was traded to the Florida Panthers in exchange for a third round pick.

Thomas Vanek Traded To Florida Panthers

In 2015-16, Vanek experienced a career-low in terms of production. He netted only 41 points in 74 games for a 0.55 point-per-game pace. Because of this, Vanek was bought out of his contract by the Minnesota Wild in the offseason and signed a one-year deal with the Red Wings. His $2.6 million cap hit will come off the books at the end of the season, with each team paying half.

The 32-year-old native of Austria was a welcome asset in Detroit as he netted the team’s first two goals of the season. He’s since gone on to lead the team in powerplay goals, points-per-game, and primary points-per-game, despite having missed almost a month’s worth of games. In addition to this, he’s also 42nd overall in the league in points per 60 minutes. 

For Florida, he adds a depth to their top-9 as a proven scorer who’s posted nine 20-goal seasons. He’s broken the 40-goal barrier twice and is on pace to score 32 goals this year. He adds veteran presence to the locker room as the seven-time all-star has made six playoff appearances, including one with the President Trophy-winning Buffalo Sabres in 2006-07.

For the Red Wings, the Vanek trade means that the team has finally folded on their season. Their historic playoff streak will end at twenty-five. It’s no doubt a tough decision for the team, who will say goodbye to their home at the end of this season and close the doors of Joe Louis Arena for good. The return is quite underwhelming given the rest of the market, as Dylan McIlrath has cleared waivers twice this season despite being a 10th overall pick. He has three goals and five points in 43 NHL games. The third round pick will become Arizona’s third this year if Florida makes the dance.

As for Thomas Vanek, his dreams of a Stanley Cup remain alive as Panthers make their push to the post-season.

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