Thomas Vanek, as expected, will not resign with the New York Islanders prior to the March 5th trade deadline. Arthur Staple of Newsday reports Vanek has turned down a “substantial offer” from the Islanders and the Isles are now likely to move Vanek.
The move to acquire Vanek has backfired on GM Garth Snow who took a gamble that the lure of playing with John Tavares would get Vanek to accept a big offer from the Islanders. However, it’s been no secret that Vanek has had his sights set on testing free agency from the get-go with many believing he will be willing to give the Minnesota Wild a hometown discount this summer.
The Islanders have fallen 10 points out of a playoff spot. Vanek has 19 goals and 47 points in 54 games this season.
The trade market will be interesting for Vanek. Few top contenders can take on Vanek’s cap hit and the Islanders are unlikely to get the type of return that the Sabres got for Vanek. The Los Angeles Kings, 29th in the NHL in scoring, are an ideal fit but don’t have much cap room.
Minnesota regarded as a front runner to sign Vanek this summer, has been looked at as a team that is more likely to chase Vanek in free agency than at the trade deadline.
The Flyers are always in on big names and were kicking the tires on Vanek prior to him being traded as were the St. Louis Blues and the Boston Bruins. The Blues could dangle Chris Stewart as part of any deal for Vanek so there could be a match there.
The Penguins are actively in the market for a scoring winger.
Montreal and New Jersey are some darkhorse teams with cap space to keep an eye on. The pressure is on the Canadiens to at least win a round this post-season and they are actively in the market for scoring.