Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Should the Wings give Thomas Vanek another shot?

We've known for some time that the Red Wings have some interest in bringing Thomas Vanek back to the organization if he's available as a free agent, and the Free Press's Helene St. James confirms the team's interest:

The Wings wil give Vanek another look, as he did very well in Detroit – he had 15 goals and 23 assists in 48 games, a .79 points-per-game average that ranks second on the team. Vanek and Nielsen had terrific chemistry.

Vanek also turned out to be the key to what was the hottest line for the Wings at the start of last season: Gustav Nyquist, Helm and Vanek. Nyquist had eight points the first seven games. Helm had six points (including four of the eight goals he’d end up scoring). When Vanek spent 11 games injured from late October into November, Nyquist and Helm got very quiet offensively.

I feel very conflicted about the concept of bringing the 33-year-old Vanek back, even if he returns at an affordable cost. While Vanek posted 38 points (15 goals and 23 assists) over the course of 48 games played with the Red Wings this past season, his departure coincided with the late-season blossoming of Anthony Mantha, Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist...

And bringing Vanek back would eliminate what little wiggle room there is on a crowded forward roster to accommodate someone other than Tomas Nosek who impresses during training camp. That would mean that a Tyler Bertuzzi or Evgeni Svechnikov would remain in Grand Rapids to start the 17-18 season, and at this point, I'd lean heavily toward accommodating young players, even over Vanek's proven scoring.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink



I do not see KH will have room for Bert or Svech with or without Vanek. Based on that, I would be fine with Vanek on another 1 year deal.

Posted by VPalmer on 06/19/17 at 03:39 PM ET

ilovehomers's avatar


Posted by ilovehomers on 06/19/17 at 03:47 PM ET

BladesOfSteel's avatar

No. Only because DET isn’t a playoff team (in my eyes) and adding him won’t be ‘the difference’.

If we were contenders and Vanek would be a depth move, maybe.

Stick to playing the kids.

Posted by BladesOfSteel on 06/19/17 at 03:52 PM ET


Stick to playing the kids.

No Vanek will only mean more Abby and Helm in top 6. I would better see Vanek there.

Posted by VPalmer on 06/19/17 at 03:56 PM ET

Shanny_Fan's avatar

Hey another 1 year deal that you could turn into another pick at next years deadline is always nice. Although George is right that we have a roster crunch for no good reason which Vanek would not help. The wings really need to start trading some vets that aren’t in their future plans.

Posted by Shanny_Fan on 06/19/17 at 03:57 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Really torn on this.  Love Vanek as a player, and everyone around the team said he was nothing but a fantastic team mate last year.

Who’s spot would he be taking?  Possibly Nosek or Frk?  Bert or Schev will not be on the team right out of camp anyways, nor should they be, but they’ll get their chance once the injury bug hits.

But like others said - if we aren’t contending, why do we need Vanek?  Maybe just to help lead by example. 

Ultimately I’d say “No” to signing him, even though I’m a huge fan.  I’d like to see him do well on another team; if he ends up on the Wings though, I’d be fine with that.

Posted by TreKronor on 06/19/17 at 04:08 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Liked Vanek but God, have got to move on at some point.

Posted by Primis on 06/19/17 at 04:11 PM ET

Alan's avatar

The wings really need to start trading some vets that aren’t in their future plans.

I’d go one step further, and say we ought to start making deals with kids that don’t look like they’ll be a part of our future either. The crunch is very real, and shedding some of the assets that might not be Red Wings material would be wise—especially if the plan is to get back to contending for a title.

But I’m under no illusion that KH would do that. He seems content with keeping everyone.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 06/19/17 at 04:16 PM ET


We should not forget that Vanek is known for floating and actually not a good example of work ethic to the young players. Maybe last season he was fantastic because he was on a 1 year deal trying to prove his worth and get a multiyear deal. The fact he only fetched a 3rd rounder was a bummer and kind of red flag. KH just needs to contain himself and not give Vanek a multiyear deal.

Posted by VPalmer on 06/19/17 at 04:45 PM ET


I can’t see Vanek going anywhere on a 1 year contract if he can help it.  He has a family and I am sure they are sick of moving every year. Vanek has played well enough to seek more than a 1 year deal. He would fit in well with Montreal if they have the room and cap space.

Posted by Mackster from Eastern Canada on 06/19/17 at 04:57 PM ET


Yes definitely bring back Vanek. And with Glendening not healthy to start the year we should re-sign Miller for $950,000 to fill in for LGD. Then when LGD is healthy we can waive Miller to Grand Rapids, where he can fulfill Cleary’s mentorship role.

And the wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, the wheels on the bus go round and round all the way to Kenny being fired.

Posted by fatsavage on 06/19/17 at 05:06 PM ET

Hockeytown Wax's avatar

I agree with you George.

If this team had made the playoffs last season and concluded they need just 1 or 2 pieces to put them over the top for next season then yeah, Vanek might be it, but we didn’t so he’s not.

I’d favor giving the kids as much ice time as possible so they can develop chemistry etc.

Signing Vanek would delay/prohibit a lot of what this team needs from happening.

I’d pass.

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 06/19/17 at 05:07 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

I would rather give Frk a shot, but if Holland moves Nyquist or Tatar, I would not mind a 1 year, trade him at the deadline deal for Vanek.

We should not forget that Vanek is known for floating and actually not a good example of work ethic to the young players. Posted by VPalmer on 06/19/17 at 04:45 PM ET

He’s also pretty well know for his drinking.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 06/19/17 at 05:09 PM ET


Vanek did well here, depends on availability of a spot because of trades. Definitely would go with kids and all non scorers should be sent down to GR. Not another year of Nyquist, Sheahan and LGD not scoring and getting all the premium ice time. All the prospects had ice time cut because of their compete level. Mrazek the same, correcting a perceived problem and creating dissension is a problem. If you are going to punish a performance issue you need to be consistent, JEFF.

Posted by stateofmifan on 06/19/17 at 05:34 PM ET


LGD did not get premium ice time. Sorry.

Posted by stateofmifan on 06/19/17 at 05:35 PM ET

DocF's avatar

Uh, NO!!!!!!!  Vanek is not a good enough skater, nor consistent enough of a scorer to be worth extending him.  Now if he were to sign a one year, minimum salary contract….....................

Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 06/19/17 at 07:00 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Holland shouldn’t even think about this but because our delusional little narcissist thinks we’re just a tweak away he’ll probably make a run at him.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 06/19/17 at 07:13 PM ET


No! So we can trade him again before the deadline and break up chemistry?  What’s the point!

Posted by 0neoftheWings on 06/19/17 at 08:09 PM ET


Doan is available, That’s right up Kennys alley.

Posted by VFUSION on 06/19/17 at 08:28 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

do not see KH will have room for Bert or Svech with or without Vanek. Based on that, I would be fine with Vanek on another 1 year deal.

It might take more than a one year deal. A lot hinges on who Ken Holland trades (Nyquist). If Nyquist is traded then a Vanek signing may make sense. Of course Nyquist’s no trade clause kicks in on July 1st, so if he is traded Ken Holland has less than two weeks. smile

Posted by bigfrog on 06/19/17 at 08:46 PM ET


I have no problem with bringing Vanek back if it enables a two-for-one for a defenseman. 

But we all know it won’t.  So what is, on paper, a smart move would be, in practice, more of the same overbuilding BS we’ve had more than enough of.

Posted by captaineclectic on 06/19/17 at 09:02 PM ET

MattD's avatar

I vehemently support the return of Thomas Vanek to Detroit.  Please!

Posted by MattD on 06/19/17 at 09:03 PM ET

PierreC's avatar

Since we don’t have much depth in our farm system, even after GR win the Calder cup, i’d give Vanek a shot for a one year deal again.

Lil Bert and Schev could make the team next year…who else ?

Cleary ?

So yes..if Vanek like to play for the Wings he should come back for one year. Its one like he has a lot of negociation power, his time in Florida was not very much succesfull.

Posted by PierreC from Montreal, Canada on 06/19/17 at 09:51 PM ET


Vanek is another free agent signing they do not need! Time for the youth movement and time to let the prospects get a real shot. The marginal benefit of being in contention for a low playoff spot is simply postponing the future or letting future assets go for nothing.

I like Vanek but he is not what this team needs.

Posted by NewfieWing on 06/20/17 at 12:00 AM ET


I’d like to see Bertuzzi, Svechnikov, Frk get legit chances to play, but it will happen with injuries.

The forward depth in Grand Rapids is actually not all that hot as it is.

The big thing is, as Frog, and Eclectic and Pierre said, Vanek only makes sense
on a one-year deal. Does he love playing in Detroit and moving on again in the Spring,
ideally at the trade deadline, that much?

The big rationale for signing all these forwards last Summer was the depth was
going to put us in a great position to make a trade. Many people had seen that
movie before and knew that being out of waiver options only means less leverage;
and that stockpiling players does not =  quality and that Holland might never actually make a trade.

If he could have traded Nyguist and/or Sheahan, plus when their value was high he might have made a decent
deal for an equally good young defenseman. It’s the likelyhood that Holland simply won’t make a trade
- and that he might offer Vanek 2-3 years and trade protection makes me say no.

But I really liked him on the Wings. He was fun to watch. He clicked with a lot of guys.
Smart and skilled with a big body. He has his downsides. I get it when people say:
doesn’t having an entertaining, competitive team matter, rebuild or not?


Posted by Lefty30 on 06/20/17 at 02:06 AM ET


In fairness, he got a #3 for Jurco and a #6 for Ott (and a #3 for Vanek).

But could he flip Vanek again?

Nyquist trade protection and Tatar RFA and Sheahan expansion exposure
tell me Holland should have pulled the trigger on moving at least one
of them when their stock was higher and he had more flexibility.


Posted by Lefty30 on 06/20/17 at 02:15 AM ET


Why on earth would Vanek accept a one year deal, especially to play on a team clearly in a rebuild even though the GM barely admits such.

The Wings cannot afford any more bad contracts and signing Vanek to anything other than a 1 year deal could turn into that.

It’s better to look for this season’s Vanek, a player who could bounce back from bad season/span and be flipped for picks at the deadline.

There is room in Detroit’s lineup for one or two UFAs and still have room for Bertuzzi and Nosek, especially if Sheahan is taken by Vegas. But those slots should probably be filled by 13th/14th forwards who can sit a lot of nights.

Vanek might make the team better in the short run but the focus should be on the future now.

Posted by evileye on 06/20/17 at 11:39 AM ET


Why on earth would Vanek accept a one year deal,

He shouldn’t. I think the discussion here whether to sign him or not is only considering he will take a 1 year deal for some reason.

Posted by VPalmer on 06/20/17 at 12:13 PM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.


Notify me of follow-up comments?


Most Recent Blog Posts

About The Malik Report

The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.