Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 06/03/14 at 02:50 PM ET
from Tom Powers of the Pioneer Press,
As much as Vanek disappeared for the Canadiens in the playoffs, Gaborik has grabbed the spotlight. Of course, we always have to clarify that by saying "a healthy" Gaborik has grabbed the spotlight. Still, it's fascinating to watch. And Gaborik, too, is about to be a free agent.
There's no question the Kings will make every effort to re-sign him, but Gaborik still will field offers before making his decision. He is 32 years old. Vanek is 30. For the sake of decision, let's look at some numbers.
Vanek is coming off of a seven-year, $50 million contract originally signed with the Buffalo Sabres. He didn't help himself with his playoff performance, but he is still going to command a long-term deal. Gaborik is coming off of a five-year, $37.5 million contract originally signed with the New York Rangers. With his history of injuries, he won't be able to command a long-term deal.
Let's say they end up with similar money on the open market -- I don't know that they will, but we'll assume that -- but Vanek insists on five or six years while Gaborik will take three years or maybe even two. Does that make it more interesting? After all, the Wild have young players coming up through the pipeline. It might be tough to commit that much money for that long.
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