The Minnesota Wild want to add more scoring to a team that finished 23rd in goals scored in the 2013-14 NHL season. Their best, most likely target is winger Thomas Vanek, who has been tied to Minnesota for more than a year. He played college hockey at the Unversity of Minnesota and he still lives in the area.
However, if Vanek is serious about playing in Minnesota, he’ll have to settle for a contract that might fall short of the dream deal he’s envisioning as a prime-aged winger in a shallow free agency market.
ESPN’s Pierre Lebrun writes that the Minnesota Wild won’t be making a long term offer to Vanek, even though both parties remain interested in a deal. As Lebrun puts it, “Sounds like he’ll have to decide between a shorter-term deal in Minnesota (where he really wants to play) or a bigger offer elsewhere.”
Thomas Vanek turned out two long-term offers from the Buffalo Sabres and the New York Islanders this past season, so we know that he values competitiveness over a fat contract, but if a different playoff contender offers him a big deal, would he rather have that than a chance to play near home?
The Wild won a playoff series last year and have generally improved in each year since the dual arrival of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, followed by the trade for Vanek’s former teammate, Jason Pominville.
If the team adds Vanek to its arsenal, they’ll have a unit of top six wingers that can stack up well against just about any team in the league. Now Thomas Vanek has to decide if that prospect is worth forgoing a bit of financial security down the road.