Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Wings take one-year gamble on Vanek

Thomas Vanek

Minnesota Wild left wing Thomas Vanek controls the puck during NHL hockey training camp in St. Paul, Minn., Friday, Sept. 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)


The Detroit Red Wings are taking a one-year gamble on Thomas Vanek. They’ll pay the 32-year-old winger $2.6 million next season, in hopes that he’ll be able to regain the form that once made him an elite NHL sniper.

Vanek was recently bought out of the final year of his contract with Minnesota. He had 18 goals in 74 games last season. The Wild opted for “salary cap flexibility” over keeping him.

“He’s definitely going to bring some offense,” said the Wings’ other new forward, Frans Nielsen, per’s Nick Costsonika. “He could be the steal of this free agency.”

Nielsen was the Wings’ biggest signing of the day, and he was no one-year gamble. The 32-year-old center left the Islanders for a six-year, $31.5 million contract in Detroit.

GM Ken Holland is banking on Nielsen to help fill the void left by the departure of Pavel Datsyuk.