Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller are both Buffalo Sabres at the moment, but no one knows for how long exactly. Miller has been a part of trade talks for a while now, and with the looming rebuild in Buffalo, that Darcy Regier has expressed to be a lengthy and painful transition in Buffalo. Meanwhile, Thomas Vanek has sat there quietly. Vanek has been an assumed trade piece for a while because of where Buffalo is in the rebuild and Buffalo could get a decent amount in return for Vanek.
Thomas Vanek has been in the NHL for the Buffalo Sabres since 2005. Vanek has been consistently healthy his entire career, and has consistently put up points for the Sabres. In eight seasons, Vanek has missed only 38 games, playing in a total of 585 games, and racking up a total of 250 goals and 238 assists in his time in a Sabres uniform.
Vanek has a sweet shot, and bring veteran leadership to the ice. Vanek could be a good piece for almost any team given the right opportunity. With Ilya Kovalchuk out of New Jersey now, it wouldn’t be too crazy to see the Devils make a move for Vanek. The Devils need help scoring, and Vanek has the ability to put his team on his shoulders as an offensive weapon.
The only question left in the air surrounding a trade with Vanek is his cap hit that sits just above $7.14 million. Vanek’s salary is $6.4 million for the remainder of his extensively front loaded contract that goes through next season. So with the cap going down, who would be willing to take on a cap hit of $7+ for a season, and have the possibility of him walking out after the season’s ending?
The Sabres will have to look into some sort of cap absorption, and under CBA, the Sabres can absorb 50% of Vanek’s salary and cap hit if they trade him, which is more than likely what will happen if the Sabres find a partner willing to take on a high level player with only one year left on his contract.
Thomas Vanek’s fate lies in the hands of Regier and the rest of the Sabres organization. Vanek has stayed quiet for the most part, not expressing frustration with the organization. Vanek recently talked in an interview about the Buffalo Sabres, and this to say, “Not the best-case scenario for me but at the same time, there’s a lot of good young players and hopefully we picked the right ones.” Vanek is looking to the future as a member of the Sabres, but there’s no telling how long he’ll be staying. Before the season? At the deadline? Timing isn’t a huge key to the trade when it comes to the Sabres side of the deal, as long as they can get him out by the deadline and not lose him to free agency for free after this season, the Sabres have won.