We haven’t heard much about the interest in Thomas Vanek this summer, as the talented offensive forward remains unsigned now through August. Today though, Michael Russo of the Star Tribune caught up with Vanek, who says he’s looking at a few options including waiting for the Detroit Red Wings. Vanek admits that he’ll have to make a final decision soon.
As we’ve looked at in the past, Vanek doesn’t have the same incentive to delay a signing in order to play in the Olympics, as Austria didn’t qualify for the event. He told Russo that he’s not used to waiting this long for a contract, and it’s true; both of his last UFA contracts were signed on July 1st. There is likely several teams with interest, but it’s unclear what kind of guarantee the 33-year old will receive.
Remember that since Vanek played all of last season and isn’t 35 yet, he’s ineligible for any incentive-based contract, meaning he’ll have to settle for whatever salary is offered to him. Though teams are well aware of his offensive upside, he isn’t a strong skater and comes with considerable defensive deficiencies. Teams that have considerable depth could likely shelter his minutes to get out positive production, or rebuilding squads could use him as trade deadline bait like Detroit last season. The Red Wings received a third-round pick and Dylan McIlrath for Vanek at the deadline last season, and could pull off a similar deal this year should he sign with them once again.