Sunday, May 18, 2014

Vanek Watch: Fading Hopes?

Photo: Francois Laplante
Now that the Wild season has come to an end, everyone has turned their focus to one thing: flooding Mike Russo's twitter feed with questions about Thomas Vanek .
Vanek is still in the playoffs, however, as he and the Montreal Canadiens take part in the Eastern Conference Finals against the New York Rangers. The Canadiens got roasted 7-2 yesterday in Game One, so it could be a quick series if the Habs don't get it turned around pretty quick.

In 12 postseason games, Vanek has scored five goals and added three assists for Montreal. He has helped them get past Tampa Bay (4-0) and Boston (4-3) in the first two postseason rounds.

But as the hockey season moves closer and closer to its inevitable end, the claims for the Wild to get Vanek will increase exponentially. Its a fair claim, the Wild struggled to score goals this year and Vanek is a noted goal scorer. They will be targeting him on July 1st right? If Chuck Fletcher tipped his hand Friday for his end of year media session, Vanek is not likely on the Wild's radar.

Fletcher noted that the Wild need to keep an eye on how they spend their cap money, so they can save it for when their young stars' entry level contracts expire (Niederreiter, Zucker, and Fontaine this year. Granlund, Haula, and Coyle next year). Vanek would likely demand a big contract that would likely constrict the Wild from signing all their kids.

So what does all this mean? That unless Thomas Vanek wants to take a 1-3 year deal, he probably won't be signing in Minnesota. Signing him long term just would not benefit Minnesota in any way in terms of the salary cap.

The hopes are fading for a Vanek return to Minnesota. You better start coming to terms with it real quick. Because when July 1st rolls around, the Wild are not likely to be knocking on his door with a blank check.

Vanek Watch is an ongoing series on the Team of 18,001 for the 2013-14 season.

Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell

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