Vancouver Canucks: No need to bring back Thomas Vanek

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 12: Thomas Vanek
COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 12: Thomas Vanek /

Thomas Vanek was an excellent fit for the Vancouver Canucks before he was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets. However, the Canucks should avoid the temptation of a reunion in free agency.

Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning signed Thomas Vanek to a one-year contract worth $2 million last summer, and it turned out to be one of the best bargain finds in 2017 free agency.

Vanek scored 17 goals and 41 points in 61 games, and was often credited for mentoring rookie sensation Brock Boeser. Nonetheless, the Canucks dealt him at the deadline to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Tyler Motte and Jussi Jokinen.

The 34-year-old had a productive tenure in Columbus, scoring seven goals and 15 points in just 19 games. Vanek helped Columbus reach the playoffs in 2018, but they were dispatched by the Washington Capitals in six games.

More from The Canuck Way

Vanek lived up to his reputation as an underachiever in the postseason, scoring just one goal and one assist in the six games. This has cost him big contracts in the past, and it could mean only another one-year deal in the offseason.

Throw this in with other factors, and the Canucks should stay away from signing Vanek again this summer, even if he was productive in his brief stay on the west coast.

We all know the Canucks would sign him and then dangle Vanek at the trade deadline. Think they’ll get a big return? Not a chance. He didn’t do enough in the playoffs to enhance his free agent or trade value.

The Canucks will also be undergoing a massive youth movement, now with the Sedin twins retired. Vanek can’t take away ice time from the younger players, or else this isn’t a full-on rebuild.

Also, there could be quite the logjam at left win. As of now Sven Baertschi, Loui Eriksson, and Brendan Leipsic are the top-three left wingers. There’s a good chance prospect Jonathan Dahlen makes the team next year as well, so where does Vanek fit? The Canucks are stuck with Eriksson’s contract, while Baertschi, Leipsic and Dahlen are younger and better off being around during this rebuilding stage.

If Vancouver signs Vanek again (with the intention of keeping him throughout 2017-18), they might get the 20 goals and 40-45 points. But he’ll be 35 next year and wouldn’t have a long-term future with the Canucks.

Vanek is a better fit for a championship contender in need of secondary scoring, and there’s no point in him rejoining a team where he’ll likely get dealt at the deadline again anyway. Vancouver has some young left wingers with upside here, and those are the guys they have to roll with.

Next: Vancouver Canucks top prospects of week 27

Bringing back Vanek may seem like a good idea because of how successful his brief time was here, but the Canucks would be better off staying away. It’s time for them to simply trust the process of moving ahead with younger players.