Thomas Vanek doesn’t exactly scream excitement. He keeps it pretty low-key, his interviews are straight-forward and when he celebrates a goal it’s just above bland. Vanek is pretty “meh”. His play, however, is the opposite of his persona. He is quietly having a great season in Canucks blue and green and his following on social media begs for more of his meh-zmerizing play.
On the surface, Vanek looked like he was brought in to add some scoring depth to the bottom-six and give a veteran presence in the dressing room. What coaching and management knew was that he was a playmaking winger that could bring a lot more than just goals.
That may cost GM Jim Benning next summer when he’s a UFA once again. Vanek is already up to 17 points on the year which puts him on pace to score 51 by season’s end, good enough for exactly his career average as of this post.
“Tommy Gun” as Jason Botchford has referred to him, has proven he’s definitely more of a playmaker than a scorer and on a Canucks team that needs distributors just as much as it needs finishers, he’s been a great fit. Of course, he does score as well.
— Grady Sas (@GradySas) December 6, 2017
Vanek will be 34 years old in January and if he’s still producing the way he is, which there are no signs he won’t, the Canucks will either command a hefty price at the deadline or at the very least he’ll ask for a few more million dollars on July 1. With the Canucks potentially losing Henrik and Daniel Sedin after this season to retirement, they’ll have two spots and maybe more to fill and Vanek wouldn’t be a terrible player to bring back.
Obviously, there are a handful of prospects trying to earn their spot on the team next season but a player of Vanek’s ilk has a proven scoring ability that those young players wouldn’t have developed at the pro level yet.
He’s a valuable piece on the power play and I wouldn’t be surprised if the coaches let him run things on the man-advantage from time to time, he’s second on the team with 9 PP points. The accolades don’t stop there as he’s tied for third in team scoring and third in assists. His expected production is right on schedule and there would have been no chance these kinds of numbers would have been possible last year under former coach Willie Desjardins (had to get that dig in).
If TV believes this team is headed in the right direction, the Canucks might get lucky and ink him in the neighborhood of $3-4M for another season or two. Nobody wants to be on a one-year deal and he has more than proven himself to have earned his current contract.
As the season continues, Vanek will hopefully boost more than just the power play and get players like Markus Granlund and Loui Eriksson on the score sheet more often. He’s been involved more often than not with the helpers so it’s not out of the realm of possibility. It’s not the Buffalo Sabres Thomas Vanek that is currently producing for Vancouver but considering he’s producing just under some of his best seasons there, he’s a steal at $2M.
He truly is meh-zmerizing and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
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Photo – TSN 1040