When Thomas Vanek signed a one-year, $2.6 million contract with the Detroit Red Wings over the summer, it looked to many like a ‘show-me’ deal for Vanek to get his last big contract as he knocks on the door of his mid-30s.
Well if that was the case, it’s certainly been executed to plan as Vanek – who turns 33 on Thursday – is nearing a point-per-game pace for the Red Wings, with 12 goals and 30 points in 33 games. He trails Henrik Zetterberg by one point for the team lead. Zetterberg has played 11 more games than Vanek has this season.
Vanek scored the lone goal for the Wings on Monday night in Detroit’s 1-0 win over Montreal to extend his personal point streak to six games, a stretch in which he’s put up nine points. He has 15 points in his last 13 games.
It’s been a rough few years for Vanek since he left Buffalo – the team that drafted him 5th overall in 2003 – via trade in 2013. After finishing out an up-and-down 2013-14 season between the Islanders and Montreal (he was traded again that season), Vanek landed in Minnesota, which was followed by more inconsistency. He put up 93 points in 154 games over two seasons, with a minus-15 rating over those two years.