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

DETROIT, MI - FEBRUARY 15: Thomas Vanek
DETROIT, MI - FEBRUARY 15: Thomas Vanek /
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Upside: Less spending on Bo Horvat

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing personal against Bo Horvat.

With the Vanek signing and the news of Alexander Wennberg (a great comparable to Horvat) signing at six years and $4.9 million per, the contract for RFA Horvat is getting smaller and smaller. As of today, the Canucks have just $5.375 million dollars in cap space.

Of course, the Canucks have to send down at least three players who figure into that cap situation so the Horvat deal could go beyond. But the Vanek signing only lowered the AAV for Horvat, which is a smart move on the part of the Benning management.

Upside: Trade deadline bait

The Canucks did well here with the contract for Vanek. It is just one year and manageable at two million dollars. Vanek has good size and for a team looking to add to their powerplay in the postseason, he would be a great add on trade deadline day.

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The one caveat is that the Canucks may not be able to retain Vanek’s salary as they are holding onto two contracts already (Roberto Luongo and Jannik Hansen).

Selling Vanek for a mid-round pick, for a prospect or anything that increases future value would be a must unless the Canucks are somehow in a playoff position.

At the cost of one roster spot for one year that could be simply used to warm up the press box, the Canucks now have a player in Thomas Vanek who has the ability to make hockey games a bit more fascinating in Vancouver.

Vanek’s upside as a scorer with the potential to revitalize other forwards’ careers is undeniable and the contract is just perfect in that it can apply pressure on the Horvat contract and be an asset going forward as a trade deadline rental piece.

Next: Looking to Utica - Ranking the Top 20 Canucks Prospects

Though on the surface the Vanek addition may seem like a blow to the organization’s youth movement, it may seem like a huge win when the loaded Utica Comets team with all of Boeser, Dahlen, Goldobin, Virtanen and Molino backed by Thatcher Demko take a legitimate run at the Calder Cup in seven months.

*Stats courtesy of DobberSports and HockeyReference*