The Signing: Thomas Vanek, LW, 30, signs with the Minnesota Wild
The Deal: Three years, $19.5 million
The Cap Hit: $6.5 million
Where he fits: Well, he fits right on the first line, giving the Wild a studly sniper—something they’ve oft lacked in the past decade. He should pair perfectly with Zach Parise, who is more of a playmaker than a goal scorer and instantly become the lynchpin of the Wild power play.
The Good: Offensive talent has not been a Wild hallmark... pretty much ever. After inking Parise a few years ago, the Wild have been searching for someone to pair him with. Vanek has roots in the state and clearly wanted to play for this team—everything fell into place and Winnesota fans have to be overjoyed that they didn't need to shell out too much to bring him in.
The Bad: Vanek isn't a super-fast skater, and the Wild are a very quick team, so in that sense he might not be a perfect fit. Vanek is a shark, however, who cruises through traffic as everything happens around him before popping up in the perfect place to snipe in a well-timed pass or deflect a point shot.
The Grade: A. The terms are reasonable and, considering the likes of Dave Bolland and Brooks Orpik are commanding north of $5 million per season, $6.5 million is not expensive at all for a 30-goal (or more) scorer. The Wild needed a more dynamic offence, and Vanek offers exactly that.