Upside: He will revitalize SOMEONE
Thomas Vanek’s biggest downside is his skating. He isn’t insecure with his strides but is just simply not able to play the speedy game that today’s NHL is building towards.
In Detroit, Vanek played the most with Frans Nielsen, a good playmaking pivot. His most common fellow wingers were Andreas Athanasiou and Gustav Nyquist. Other players that he played with a lot included Dylan Larkin and Darren Helm.
The thing in common with all these players is that they have great skating abilities, led by none other than Larkin.
If Vanek can thrive playing with a skilled playmaking centre and a speedy winger, that could mean chances for many Canucks forwards who would otherwise not have much success. Perhaps Anton Rodin can play the other wing or perhaps Brandon Sutter can be a speedy winger on faceoff duties. Sam Gagner won’t be a bad option either.
Honestly, if adding Vanek can pull Rodin and Sutter together into a respectable forward trio, that would be a miracle in Van City.
On the flip side, he could vitalize the Sedins, perhaps even better with Loui Eriksson. Eriksson and the Sedins all play at a slower tempo than how most of the younger players do these days and perhaps Vanek’s shooting prowess can revitalize one or two of these smart yet slow Swedes who can really pass the puck well.
If Boucher makes the team, he could learn a lot from watching of playing with Vanek as he also plays with a great emphasis on his shot and less excellence on his skating.
One way or another, Vanek is going to vitalize someone’s career.