Though many blasted the term and money used to re-sign Darren Helm, and the idea to bring Steve Ott into the fold, there were some who appreciated the Detroit Red Wings signing of Thomas Vanek. While the Red Wings addressed a need by signing center Frans Nielsen to a six-year deal, the signing of Vanek was one that many labeled as a low risk, high reward. Vanek, who was bought out by Minnesota, inked a one-year, $2.6MM contract and is expected to boost a moribund Red Wings power play that struggled throughout the season and into the playoffs.
There is also a faction of the Wings fan base that believes Vanek prevents a young forward, namely Andreas Athanasiou or Anthony Mantha, from getting a full time spot on the roster. To answer this question and others, MLive’s Tom Mitsos quantified Vanek’s performance and possible future performance by using advanced stats. Mitsos found that as many have pointed out, Vanek appears to be on the downside of his career. Besides the obvious slide in goals, points, and being bought out by his previous team, the advanced measures of his ability don’t bode well for the 32-year-old forward.
Mitsos lists Vanek’s Corsi For percentage as the first indicator. Vanek registered a CF% of 45.45, which is considered below average in terms of puck possession metrics. Further, Mitsos reveals a similar comparison when looking at it from a three year glance. Mitsos also points out that current forward Tomas Tatar, who has been speculated as a possible trade target, has Vanek beaten in almost every major category.
That’s not good, especially since the Red Wings are looking to move pieces to acquire a #1 defenseman, something the team has lacked for nearly five seasons. Moving a player who outpaces another who looks to be a one-year rental hardly helps the long term health of a franchise.
Mitsos concludes that should Vanek tally 20 goals this upcoming season, it would go a long way in justifying the signing. But a deeper statistical dive shows exactly what many suspected: Vanek’s better years are far behind him.
Other Red Wings news:
- 2016 first round draft pick Dennis Cholowski has a lot to like about him writes MLive’s Brendan Savage. The Red Wings front office labeled him an “elite thinker” on the ice, and also spoke highly of his puck possession and offensive abilities. Cholowski is headed to St. Cloud State where he’s expected to develop into a top four defenseman the Red Wings can rely on to produce points. While Ken Holland cautioned fans that the Wings would take their time developing Cholowski, there’s no question their eyes are glued to the young defenseman as a future solution to their current woes on the blue line.