Vanek was recently bought out by the Minnesota Wild. The 32-year-old winger never lived up to his $6.5MM AAV deal in Minnesota and was expected to get a shorter, cheaper deal. Red Wings general manager Ken Holland needed scoring help, and Vanek could be a bargain if he returns to the form that paid him handsomely.
Last season, Vanek had 41 points (18-23) in 74 games and is still a threat in the offensive zone. While his defense has continued to decline, perhaps Red Wings’ coach Jeff Blashill can guard him enough to maximize his scoring ability while minimizing his defensive impact.