Vancouver Canucks analysis: Signing Thomas Vanek is a risk worth taking

DETROIT, MI - FEBRUARY 15: Thomas Vanek
DETROIT, MI - FEBRUARY 15: Thomas Vanek /
1 of 4
vancouver canucks
vancouver canucks /

Signing Thomas Vanek is a risk for the Vancouver Canucks but the risk is one worth taking at this point in time.

The Vancouver Canucks dipped their toes into the depleted free agent market by signing Thomas Vanek on the first day of September. Though Vanek was once famous for his impressive scoring abilities, he has now found a reputation as the guy who has played for six different teams in the past four years.

With Vancouver set to become his seventh team in five seasons, what can Vanek offer to this organization? Well, the majority of the fanbase seems to have turned its back against Vanek already, even before camp began.

As many know already, Vanek’s emergence simply means that there is one less spot available for a young forward. At this point, Jonathan Dahlen has no chance of making the NHL. Jake Virtanen is most likely headed back to the AHL. Does anyone even care about Griffen Molino at this point?

Continuing on, Anton Rodin‘s future just became that much more difficult. Reid Boucher has got to be frustrated about a player in Vanek who is just like him coming in on September 1st. Both have a great shot but struggle with skating.

Lastly, the youngsters who were the most likely to make the NHL now have one less ticket. I would not be surprised if Brock Boeser and Nikolay Goldobin are frustrated right now.

More from The Canuck Way

Heck, imagine how Jo LaBate feels after almost making the team last year and doing well in Utica, scoring at nearly twice the rate he had the year before as a grinder.

Bottom line, the youth movement is a joke after signing Vanek if GM Jim Benning and the hockey ops department does not make any trades that significantly change up the NHL roster.

Excluding Boeser, the Canucks are at 15 NHL forwards. With Jayson Megna and Michael Chaput likely set to go on waivers, the team is looking at 13 NHL forwards.

If the Canucks are feeling generous up front and take two extra forwards, that means that there is one spot up for grabs.

While that spot is likely either Boeser’s or Goldobin’s, it may just be used for an extra defenseman or for Alex Biega who can fill in wherever the team needs him to. It would be a healthy scratch slot on most nights anyhow.

Especially considering this rumour, there may be no injection of youth into the Canucks forward ranks on opening night.

That being said, the early draftists may already point to this signing as one that will simply bump the Canucks from having the best odds of landing Rasmus Dahlin, this year’s draft-eligible superstar, to having the 15th-best odds of getting the favourable lottery balls.

If you think that Vanek is a better player than Boeser or Goldobin, that would most definitely be an argument worth making.

The Risk: There is no youth movement in Vancouver this season. The chances of landing a top pick in the 2018 draft may have gotten slimmer.

But not all is bad.

For all the youth that accumulated in Vancouver late last season with the arrivals of Goldobin, Boeser, Boucher and Molino, the Canucks were losing and losing without offering up much entertainment. Here’s where the positives of landing Vanek lies.