Thomas Vanek has been great for the Detroit Red Wings this season after signing a one-year, $2.6 million contract. However, Detroit’s playoff streak is in jeopardy (they are second to last in the Atlantic Division), making Vanek’s future with the Red Wings uncertain.
If Ken Holland feels that the Red Wings won’t make the playoffs once the trade deadline rolls around, he could decide to trade Vanek and get a draft pick and/or prospect in return.
While the possibility of receiving as high as a second-round draft pick and a prospect in return for Vanek sounds appealing, Vanek has been too good of a fit on the Red Wings for them to let go of him. He is producing at nearly a point-per-game pace (30 points in 33 games) and is currently on a six-game point streak heading into Wednesday’s game against the Boston Bruins. His 12 goals lead the Red Wings, and he scored the deciding goal in Detroit’s 1-0 win over Montreal.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) January 16, 2017
Vanek not only has been producing but has made the players around him better as well. The combination of Vanek, Frans Nielsen, and Andreas Athanasiou has been Detroit’s best line as of late. He also showed great chemistry with Darren Helm early in the season. On a team that has struggled with scoring in recent history, Vanek’s offensive mind and playmaking ability are extremely valuable for the Red Wings.
Instead of trading Vanek at the deadline, Holland should look into signing Vanek to an extension. He has been a great fit and one of the best players on the team and has said that he wants to stay in Detroit. Vanek is 32 and clearly still has offensive ability, so a two-year extension could work out for both sides. A veteran presence like Vanek is invaluable in the locker room and on the ice, serving as a mentor for the crop of talented young forwards on the Red Wings.
Even if the Red Wings do not make the playoffs this year, I think trading Vanek would be a mistake. A second-round pick and a prospect both have potential, but could also fail to meet expectations. Vanek is a proven veteran with a brilliant offensive mind. Extending him for two seasons means that Vanek could be a key member of the Red Wings and help contend for the playoffs during the next couple of seasons.