A few weeks ago, if you would have told me that Montreal Canadiens forward and upcoming free agent Thomas Vanek would be in consideration to be a healthy scratch in a critical game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, I would have laughed at you. Well, it almost happened. Vanek played on the fourth line last night. Gone Puck Wild suggests that perhaps Vanek’s lackluster playoff performance could lower his asking price. If that happens, that could prove to be extremely beneficial for the Washington Capitals.
The Good About Thomas Vanek
Thomas Vanek is a proven top 6 forward and one of the best scorers in the NHL. When he’s on his game, he can be virtually unstoppable. Vanek could provide the Washington Capitals with a unique option. They could either let young gun Evgeny Kuznetsov join Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom on the first line or they could put Vanek on the first line and let Kuznetsov join Troy Brouwer on the second line. A Vanek-Backstrom-Ovechkin line on paper would be one of the best in the NHL.
If the Capitals signed Thomas Vanek, that would be an excellent thing for Ovechkin. Team would not be able to focus so heavily on him because if they tried to, Vanek would make them pay. Ovechkin scored 50+ goals last year without having a left wing who could make teams pay. That’s pretty amazing, and it makes me wonder what Ovechkin could do if he had someone like Vanek on his line.
The Bad About Thomas Vanek
The most concerning thing about Thomas Vanek is his age. He’s currently 30 years old. Hockey players tend to take a noticeable nose dive as far as production once they hit 30. Yes, there are players who defy that, but it is definitely something that would be worth considering.
The second concern that I have about Thomas Vanek is his price. I don’t think that Vanek is going to have a lack of suitors. Goal scoring is always at a premium in the NHL, and that’s something that Thomas Vanek does extremely well.
I think the Washington Capitals should definitely be interested in signing Thomas Vanek for the right price. A three to five year deal with an AAV of roughly $6,000,000 would be quite manageable, especially if the Capitals amnesty Brooks Laich. Of course, the Capitals would still need to address their defense to be contenders. But Vanek could solve a number of problems for the Capitals.
As always, let me know what you think in the comments!