As the Vancouver Canucks walk the tightrope between rebuilding and keeping things somewhat competitive for franchise icons Henrik and Daniel Sedin, another veteran scorer enters the fray to help the club’s efforts in 2017-18.
Star-turned-journeyman Thomas Vanek, who’s suited up for five different clubs over the past four seasons, signed on with the Canucks with a one-year, $2-million deal announced Friday. Though he comes to Vancouver at 33 years old, Vanek has a productive 2016-17 campaign in his rear-view, having posted 17 goals and 48 points in just 68 games last season.
The veteran might not be about to pot the 40 goals he was putting up in his prime, but Vanek said he feels he’s got plenty to offer Vancouver, particularly on the man-advantage.
“That’s one of my specialties,” Vanek said to NHL.com’s Kevin Woodley on Friday. “I think I am still very good in front of the net and tipping pucks and reading other players and finding that open space, so it’s definitely in my mindset to come in there and work for that power-play time.”
The Canucks could undoubtedly use the help, having finished 2016-17 with the second-worst power play percentage in the league (14.1 percent). The British Columbian club could get some offensive help from another newcomer as well, as University of North Dakota product Brock Boeser will suit up for his first full season after getting a fleeting nine-game look last year.
With four goals and a helper through those nine tilts, Boeser stands as one of Vancouver’s most promising prospects heading into 2017-18, and Vanek is already looking forward to going to battle alongside the 20-year-old.
“Brock is awesome,” Vanek said. “I skated with him quite a bit this summer and told him (Friday) morning, ‘You know I might be joining you,’ and he seemed fairly excited. … He’s a great kid. What I like about him is even in summer hockey or shinny hockey, if you tell him a little tip here or there, he is the type of kid who will listen and doesn’t just shake his head and say, ‘I know it better anyways.’
“He’s very impressive.”
A veteran of 15 NHL seasons, Vanek has 333 goals (129 on the power play) and 697 total points through 885 career games. He’ll look to add to those career marks next season in what will be his second go-round in a Canadian market.