No Panic Vanek

Veteran signing, Thomas Vanek added a valuable powerplay marker last night in the Canucks’ 3-0 victory over the visiting Carolina Hurricanes. Rather than re-cap the big dubya, I’m talking bout TV.

thomas-vanek.jpgThomas Vanek was a source of swirling controversy during the off-season as committed “rebuild” supporters exclaimed from soap boxes around the city that “signing veterans would do this team no good, we need room for younger players to develop!”. To these angry armchair cynics I sort of agree – but only half way.

While the youth movement should be front and center, signing a free agent like Thomas Vanek to a reasonable $2m contract for a single season provides the team and coach Green with a versatile offensive option. A second unit powerplay can be constructed around his ability to bury biscuits – and let’s not forget, he has been a consistent and often prolific scorer throughout his entire career and has some gas in the tank at 33 years of age.

Thomas Vanek has 18 points in 28 games – and quietly sits third in team scoring (he’s only 2 points behind Bo Horvat). 10 of his points have come on the man advantage, and he plays an average of 3 minutes less per game than the top line. As far as second line wingers are concerned, the Canucks appear to have struck gold.

This is about the point in the article where naysayers may chime in with a snot-nosed comment about the benefits of sabotaging our current season for a draft pick. Well, if you’re thinking that, you’re a bitch. Rolling over and playing dead so that we can draft a high pick is so disgustingly cowardly that you ought to give yourself a swift slap across your own dumb face for thinking like that… Okay, I apologize, I hope we both learned a lesson.

vanek2We have seen, time and time again, teams like the Buffalo Sabres and Edmonton Oilers bottom feed year after year while accumulating high draft picks, but somehow they fail to take the next step for years or even decades. Young teams have to learn how to win and it’s up to management to put a competitive product on the ice with mentors to lead the pack – Vanek helps do that. The confidence that the young talent on this Canuck squad have built-up thus far in the season is incredibly valuable – it’s what fosters the development of a winning culture.

So what if we don’t draft in the top 5 next year?… Boeser was drafted at #23, Horvat at #9… You don’t need to shit the bed to construct a contender. So if Vanek makes our team better, sign him up!

Here’s my point regarding the shifty seasoned shooter from Vienna – he is helping the Canucks win games and is leading by example. If the brass want to keep this guy on board for another year or two, terrific, he’s got a fan in yours truly. Travis Green can employ his skill-set to make another push for playoffs next year with a nice blend of youth and experience.

But, if this dream-start of our high-flying Canucks fizzles out in the new year and we’re far outside the playoff picture in March – a veteran scorer on pace for 50 plus points might just be enough to fetch a first rounder, second rounder or a nice prospect.

No matter how you want to cut this carrot cake, the signing of Thomas Vanek is free money – free money that sits third in team scoring. This one is a big ole slam-dunk for Jimmy Benning and the boys as far as I’m concerned.

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