Well here we are. It has finally come to this. Thomas Vanek gets his own watch with this site, like Zach Parise and Ryan Suter did last summer.
For those who don't understand why it has come to this, here is the story: Thomas Vanek (that guy who played for the Gophers in 2003, then was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres and has played there ever since), is an impending unrestricted free agent next summer. The Wild have been rumored for a while to be a serious player for Vanek, since they will have adequate cap room (Dany Heatley's contract coming off the books is a huge contributor to this). So basically everyone wants to see Vanek, and all other former Gophers, return to the North Star state.
Last night, Josh Rimer stirred the Vanek to Minnesota pot with this tweet:
Hearing IF the Buffalo Sabres move Thomas Vanek, he wants to play for the Minnesota Wild. Vanek lives & trains in Minneapolis in the summer.Rimer definitely uses the caps lock in the correct place here. The key word is "IF". So please remember that before you start celebrating Vanek's impending return to Minnesota.
— Josh Rimer (@JoshRimerHockey) September 4, 2013
The ransom to fetch Vanek at any point in the 2013-14 season would be greater than the return the Wild gave up for Jason Pominville last winter. The Wild would have to deal AT LEAST two of their top prospects and draft picks (one would be the team's 2014 first round pick and I'm guessing the Sabres would want another first too). Sorry folks, but that price is too steep. The Wild need to sit this one out.
Even if the Wild dont go after Vanek in the season, he will still be there when free agency opens on July 1st. Its becoming more and more clear that Vanek wants out of Buffalo, but wants to politely leave the bad situation that the team has become (meaning: he is not demanding a trade but he is not going to want a contract extension either). So should the Wild land Vanek on the open market, the only thing that is taking a hit is Craig Leipold's wallet (again) and not the farm system.
Gear up Wild fans, its going to be a long 10 months, but stay tuned for lots of coverage on Vanek Watch.
Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell