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Thomas Vanek Off To A Very Good Start With The Detroit Red Wings

from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,

Vanek is a critical contributor for a Red Wings team that has outperformed expectations by winning five in a row.

It has been a reversal of fortunes for Vanek who was coming out of an unsatisfactory relationship with the Minnesota Wild. He scored 39 goals and was minus-16 over two seasons in Minnesota, and the Wild bought out his contract. They didn’t believe he was worth the $6.5 million they were spending.

“I loved Minnesota,” Vanek said. “Nothing bad to say about the organization. But it wasn’t a good fit. They had other guys who they preferred get top minutes. I could never get going. Some of it is my fault. I wasn’t very good at times.”

Vanek, who scored a career-high 43 goals for Buffalo in 2006-07, had three or four teams interested but settled on the Red Wings because they believed he is still a top scorer. Vanek also liked their history as a puck possession team. “Over the years, I’ve admired the way Detroit plays hockey,” he said.

The Red Wings particularly liked the fact that Vanek is a right-hand shot. He has made the team more dangerous from the left wing on the power play.

“The fit is right because they want me in front of the net scoring goals,” Vanek said. “I still think I’m one of the better net-front people in the league. The last two years, it seems like I wasn’t put in those situations. It’s about fit and being in the right situations in this league. But you still have to work hard.”

more plus other, under the radar players who have had a good start..

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Comments

Figaro's avatar

I like that he’s not only scoring, but he’s skating and competing. He’s not just floating around until the puck comes to him.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 10/26/16 at 09:44 PM ET

topshelf14's avatar

Best part about him?  He knows how to finish. That’s been the Wings bugaboo for awhile now. Tons of chances no fonish. Not Vanek when he gets an opportunity he is burying it.

Posted by topshelf14 from Detroit, MI on 10/26/16 at 09:49 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I like that he’s not only scoring, but he’s skating and competing. He’s not just floating around until the puck comes to him.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 10/26/16 at 10:44 PM ET

Oh he floats around in the offensive zone still.

As I pointed out in I believe the A2Y liveblog the other night though, so did Brett Hull.  That was Hull’s specialty—he’d be floating around outside of play, and then all of a sudden he’s open in the slot and boom, puck was in the back of the net.  Bret Hull made a KILLING playing that way.  He woudl be invisible, until he wasn’t and then the red light was on.

And Vanek is better defensively than Hull ever was.

I’m not saying with that comparison that Vanek is going to score 40 (he’s going to definitely cool down here soon, I’d imagine).  However, if he can pop in 20-some with a killer instinct like that and still bust his tail for the Wings in the neutral and defensive zones, he’s EXTREMELY valuable.  Because Detroit almost directly discourages developing players that way, and they desperately have needed a guy like that for a while now (especially since Franzen has been gone, because that was Franzen’s thing too).

Posted by Primis on 10/27/16 at 07:31 AM ET

Colin's avatar

Oh he floats around in the offensive zone still.

As I pointed out in I believe the A2Y liveblog the other night though, so did Brett Hull.  That was Hull’s specialty—he’d be floating around outside of play, and then all of a sudden he’s open in the slot and boom, puck was in the back of the net.  Bret Hull made a KILLING playing that way.  He woudl be invisible, until he wasn’t and then the red light was on.

And Vanek is better defensively than Hull ever was.

I’m not saying with that comparison that Vanek is going to score 40 (he’s going to definitely cool down here soon, I’d imagine).  However, if he can pop in 20-some with a killer instinct like that and still bust his tail for the Wings in the neutral and defensive zones, he’s EXTREMELY valuable.  Because Detroit almost directly discourages developing players that way, and they desperately have needed a guy like that for a while now (especially since Franzen has been gone, because that was Franzen’s thing too).

Posted by Primis on 10/27/16 at 08:31 AM ET

Very good point. However, I have also seen him forechecking very hard at times, at least two of his assists have developed from takeaways in the corner. He does float off the puck for sure, just like Nielsen and even Datsyuk. It’s a great quality because that elusiveness almost always puts you in a position to score. But he’s also hard on the puck, and that is what has really impressed me this season outside of all the scoring. I was apprehensive when he was signed because I worried he might be an all-around floater like Nyquist and Tatar had been the last 2 years, but Vanek made me choke on my own words there.

IMO, if he can keep up this intensity throughout the season, I’m predicting he’ll be our first 30+ goal scorer since Hossa left.

Posted by Colin from Ken Holland's new yacht, "Incompetence" on 10/27/16 at 08:13 AM ET

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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.

 

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