Vancouver Canucks sign Thomas Vanek, what it means

BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 27: Thomas Vanek
BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 27: Thomas Vanek /

After plenty of speculation over the past few days, the Vancouver Canucks signed veteran winger Thomas Vanek to a one-year deal. See the details and what this means heading into the 2017-18 season.

The Vancouver Canucks have made yet another splash in free agency, as the team announced on Friday afternoon that they’ve signed forward Thomas Vanek to a one-year contract:

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, it’s a one-year pact worth $2 million. The signings comes after a days of speculation that the Canucks were interested in signing the veteran winger.

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It’s been a busy offseason for general manager Jim Benning, who was one of the most active men in free agency this summer.

He added  Sam Gagner, defenceman Michael Del Zotto,goalie Anders Nilsson and depth players in centre Alexander Burmistrov and a physical blueliner in Patrick Wiercioch.

Now he adds Vanek, a 10-time 20-goal scorer who has hit the 50-point mark eight times. He was a nice fit with the Detroit Red Wings last year, scoring 15 goals and 38 points in 48 games.

But when he was dealt to the Florida Panthers at the trade deadline, Vanek had just two goals and 10 points in 20 games. His poor finish to the season is a key reason why the Austrian standout waited so long for a contact.

What Vanek signing means

Though the Canucks add a useful veteran sniper to their roster, the move will come with some critics. Trevor Linden told the fans that the Canucks were rebuilding back in April, but the Canucks appear to once again be more interested in the “retooling on the fly” approach.

For Gagner (28), and Del Zotto (27), they’re both young and could be nice pieces for the Canucks future. But Vanek is 33 years of age and probably doesn’t have many years left in the NHL, so this signing doesn’t make it appear as though Vancouver is really committed to rebuilding.

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But on the bright side, Vancouver adds yet another possible 20-goal scorer to their lineup. Vanek has a good shot and should fix their porous power play. He has 129 career goals and 113 assists with the man advantage.

It’ll be interesting to see where Vanek plays in the lineup. Perhaps he’ll play with the Sedin twins, or may even be on the fourth line. Head coach Travis Green has plenty of options with Vanek here.


Though many fans may not like this signing, it’s simply a low-risk, high-reward move. Vanek’s only on a one-year pact for $2 million, so he doesn’t damage their salary cap situation. Also, if Vanek plays well in Vancouver, he could be moved at the deadline for a draft pick or two.

The Canucks now have a couple of more scorers in Gagner and Vanek, so at least fans can expect a little more offence in 2017-18. And who knows, maybe he will be a great fit on a side with the Sedin twins.

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But again, there is no risk with the Canucks signing Vanek. At the very least, he disappoints and they move on from him.

*Stats courtesy of Hockey Reference*