An attempt to be humorous and logical about the Buffalo Sports Scene.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Thomas Vanek Appreciation Society

I am a fan of Thomas Vanek. I think he's a great player, that gets a ton of grief for a contract that some idiot GM gave him. Not one he held out for, or demanded, but was given. So now he has to play up to that contract. He is in a no win situation, unless he produces like Alex Ovechkin. And Thomas Vanek isn't Alexander Ovechkin and never will be.

He is a quality player, who is a goal scorer and having a down year. He isn't lazy, like most of his critics call him. He sits in front of the net, takes a pounding and goes to corners and works for the puck. Derrick Roy is lazy, Thomas Vanek is not. People aren't fans of many players on this team,Connelly, Roy, Pominville, Stafford and unfortuntely Vanek gets lumped into this group. I remember being excited when Vanek was drafted, because he just came off of carrying the Gophers to another National Title. (In Buffalo btw) I thought he would a top guy the Sabres could use and a winner. And I have been somewhat proven right. He puts the puck into the net and the Sabres have been in the Playoffs, 3 of the 5 years of him being the team. And also 1 season in the playoffs with the Amerks. Lets look at the stats for Mr Vanek over the past five seasons.

2005-2006 25 goals and 48 points in 81 games

2006-2007 43 goals and 84 points in 82 games

2007-2008 36 goals and 64 points in 82 games

2008-2009 40 goals and 64 points in 73 games

2009-2010 23 goals and 47 points in 66 games.

Thats 167 goals over 5 years.

Lets look at players drafted right around Thomas Vanek. Forwards that is. Goalies and Defensemen don't count

Eric Staal (2nd overall) 176 Goals

Nathan Horton (3rd overall) 126 Goals

Nikolai Zherdev (4th overall) 86 Goals

Milan Michaek (6th overall) 112 Goals

Andrei Kostitsyn (10th Overall) 64 goals

Jeff Carter (11th Overall) 145 Goals

Dustin Brown (13th Overall) 105 Goals

I think we get the picture, but now lets rank those players, by goals scored and their salaries for next year.

Eric Staal 7.5 Million

Thomas Vanek 6.4 Million

Jeff Carter 5.5 Million (RFA after next year) And his price will Skyrocket

Nathan Horton 4.0 Million (Good deal)

Milan Michalek 4.25 Million

Dustin Brown 3.5 Million (for the next 4 years) Look out for the Kings.

Nikolai Zherdev Out of the league

Andrei Kostitsyn 3.250 Million (RFA)

As you can see Thomas Vanek Salary fits right in line with production. Yes he's having a down year. But most of the Sabre forwards are having a down year. I expect him back in the 30 goals to 40 goals next year.

Production is only one of the reasons why I like Thomas Vanek. Its the person. When he struggles its obvious. I like that. I don't want a superstar when in a slump to accept it and just not take it seriously. (ie Derek Roy) You can see when he finally scores, its important to him, you can see the weight come off his shoulders. The guy is a team player, he doesn't complain if he isn't getting ice time, he knows why. He doesn't get into trouble, hes a family guy. He represents the team very well.

Also he came to this county when he was 14! To pursue hockey. Can you imagine moving from Buffalo to say Paris when you were 14 to pursue your dream? I couldn't. But yet here he is a successful NHL Player, who is well adjusted and a role model for any young hockey player.

But what does he get? Grief and ridicule from the Sabre fanbase. I don't get it. Just see how bad this team would be offensively if they traded him. And you always hear, they should have taken the draft picks for losing him. Well maybe the Sabres would be better years down the road. But I never take a chance on a draft pick. Plus the Sabres would not be in the position they are this year without Thomas Vanek.

Maybe I'm one man who appreciated Thomas Vanek. But I'm proud to let everyone know that I do.

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Buffalo, NY, United States
A Stay at home dad, who has more hot takes then your average stay at home dad.