Report: Isles, Thomas Vanek will not reach extension
For the New York Islanders, the 2013-14 season was supposed to be a coming-out party of sorts. After returning to the playoffs last season, the Islanders made a blockbuster move, sending Matt Moulson and multiple draft picks to Buffalo for Thomas Vanek.
While Vanek has lived up to expectations playing with captain John Tavares and right wing Kyle Okposo, the vast majority of the team has faltered this season. Secondary scoring has been hard to come by, and goaltending remains an issue with Evgeni Nabokov and Kevin Poulin in net. All that has led the Islanders to a 21-28-8 record thus far, placing them last in the Metropolitan Division and looking at another top-five pick in the draft.
What does all this mean for Thomas Vanek? With 38 points (15+23) in 41 games with New York, Vanek has been playing as expected. As a free agent this offseason, Vanek should be able to command upwards of $8 million annually. Arthur Staple of Newsday reported today that that kind of money may not come from the Islanders.
Sources say Thomas Vanek has turned down a substantial offer from the #Isles, who will likely move him by Mar. 5 deadline. Story to come.
— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) February 3, 2014
Staple later reported that general manager Garth Snow’s latest offer to Vanek was in the same annual value range of his current contract, which was for seven years and $50 million. Staple also noted that Snow and Vanek’s agent, Steve Bartlett, have been out of contact for a few weeks.
All this news bodes very poorly for the Islanders. In the Moulson deal, the Islanders sent a conditional 2014 first-round pick, along with their second-round pick in 2015. If the Islanders remain in the top 10 of the 2014 draft, they can opt to keep their pick, but then they would end up giving their top two 2015 picks to Buffalo. While this year’s draft class is incredibly deep with first-round NHL talent, the 2015 draft provides the possibility of two extremely elite prospects at the top, Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel.
At this point, the Islanders may have cornered themselves between a rock and a hard place following the Moulson-Vanek swap. For a team that thought they had turned the corner into contender status, they still have a lot of needs to fill before stepping up in the Eastern Conference.
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