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Thomas Vanek


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Yeah, hockey sense is off the charts.

He's an interesting player. Normally Id agree with guys that are saying it would be risky to sign him long term but he's a special case. He has decent size but doesnt play particualrly physical. He's not particularly fast but never gets dropped from the play. He just seems effortless. In that regard he reminds me a lot of a guy like Selanne.

As with most guys who rely on their hockey sense, its entirely possible Vanek keeps playing at a relatively high level for 5-7 more years. Im still not sure id sign him for that long but I wouldnt absolutely say no either.

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His offensive instincts are great, his defensive instincts not so much. If we we're talking about how he'd age in a contract that took him through 35-36 I'd probably agree and say let's take the leap 100% but it's 39 that scares me, if he deteriorateswith his defensive value? The contract is an albatross. I'm not expecting him to go off the rails like Gomez did but even if he averages 20 goals and 50 points from 35-37, with 2 really bad years tacked on at 38-39, that's half of his long term contract at 7-8 million that we're getting bad - horrid value.

That's why every year counts with a UFA, if next season he was 28-29 instead of 30-31, it would make a big, big difference. Not for the front end of the contract as much but for the risk at the back end. I think we're probably more cavalier about these deals because in the past teams have just been able to get out of them, be it through putting guys in the minors or the amnesty buyouts from this last lockout but that's not going to be there to save us. We could really start to see teams getting burned and with the possible uncertainty over the Canadian dollar, it could put a ceiling on how high the cap goes. Or at least slow it down a bit.

Although just to be clear, I'm not totally against signing him. There's a part of me that's excited we have a player like him and wants to just keep him at all costs. So if we were to sign him, I'd be excited. I'd be apprehensive for sure but it would be exciting.

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On his game last night, we all know what he can do from watching him regularly against us in Buffalo but the element that I was most excited about the moment we got him was exactly what we saw on the 2nd goal. Parked in front of the net, tied up, 2 guys in his face and still able to guide a shot into the far side with that release.

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His offensive instincts are great, his defensive instincts not so much. If we we're talking about how he'd age in a contract that took him through 35-36 I'd probably agree and say let's take the leap 100% but it's 39 that scares me, if he deteriorateswith his defensive value? The contract is an albatross. I'm not expecting him to go off the rails like Gomez did but even if he averages 20 goals and 50 points from 35-37, with 2 really bad years tacked on at 38-39, that's half of his long term contract at 7-8 million that we're getting bad - horrid value.

That's why every year counts with a UFA, if next season he was 28-29 instead of 30-31, it would make a big, big difference. Not for the front end of the contract as much but for the risk at the back end. I think we're probably more cavalier about these deals because in the past teams have just been able to get out of them, be it through putting guys in the minors or the amnesty buyouts from this last lockout but that's not going to be there to save us. We could really start to see teams getting burned and with the possible uncertainty over the Canadian dollar, it could put a ceiling on how high the cap goes. Or at least slow it down a bit.

Although just to be clear, I'm not totally against signing him. There's a part of me that's excited we have a player like him and wants to just keep him at all costs. So if we were to sign him, I'd be excited. I'd be apprehensive for sure but it would be exciting.

This is going to seem nit-picky but I think maybe it's justified given the topic we're discussing. Where is age 39 coming from? I'm going to write this out laregely for my own benefit as well. His birthday is in January, so if we offer him a 7 year contract we're looking at:

Year 1 - He's 30 for half the season, 31 for the second half

Year 2 - He's 31 for half the season, 32 for the second half

Year 3 - He's 32 for half the season, 33 for the second half

Year 4 - He's 33 for half the season, 34 for the second half

Year 5 - He's 34 for half the season, 35 for the second half

Year 6 - He's 35 for half the season, 36 for the second half

Year 7 - He's 36 for half the season, 37 for the second half

So if we offer him 7 years, at worst we're getting half of the last season where he's 37. There's risk in any long term contract that pushes a player past 35 but a contract that ends a few months after a guy turns 37 doesn't scare as much, especially in today's NHL for this type of player. I think it's becoming less the exception and more the norm for these types of skilled offensive players to keep playing at a pretty high level into their mid/late 30s. The 7 years above would actually take him to a very similar age that the Erik Cole contract does, and most of us were willing to accept the risk despite the fact Cole had a ton of red flags in terms of injuries and production inconsistencies.

8 years starts to scare me more, but even then it's only a few months of a 38 year old player.

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I think Bergevin will definitely offer him a deal. The trade was a steal, either way, but I'd have to believe Bergevin is also going to offer him a long-term contract. Whether or not Vanek is interested, who knows? A deep play-off run might be the only thing that convinces him it's worth it to stay in Montreal. The taxes, referendum debate, language, and media scrutiny certainly aren't going to make him want to stay. But money and potential success might!

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I think Bergevin will definitely offer him a deal. The trade was a steal, either way, but I'd have to believe Bergevin is also going to offer him a long-term contract. Whether or not Vanek is interested, who knows? A deep play-off run might be the only thing that convinces him it's worth it to stay in Montreal. The taxes, referendum debate, language, and media scrutiny certainly aren't going to make him want to stay. But money and potential success might!

Hopefully 21,000 people chanting his name scored a couple of points in our favour as well ;)

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I think Bergevin will definitely offer him a deal. The trade was a steal, either way, but I'd have to believe Bergevin is also going to offer him a long-term contract. Whether or not Vanek is interested, who knows? A deep play-off run might be the only thing that convinces him it's worth it to stay in Montreal. The taxes, referendum debate, language, and media scrutiny certainly aren't going to make him want to stay. But money and potential success might!

Just read this on Vanek's UFA status and the possible contract that MB might/should offer him. Sounds good to me.

http://montreal.ctvnews.ca/call-of-the-wilde-is-vanek-worth-eight-years-1.1736454

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This is going to seem nit-picky but I think maybe it's justified given the topic we're discussing. Where is age 39 coming from? I'm going to write this out laregely for my own benefit as well. His birthday is in January, so if we offer him a 7 year contract we're looking at:

Year 1 - He's 30 for half the season, 31 for the second half

Year 2 - He's 31 for half the season, 32 for the second half

Year 3 - He's 32 for half the season, 33 for the second half

Year 4 - He's 33 for half the season, 34 for the second half

Year 5 - He's 34 for half the season, 35 for the second half

Year 6 - He's 35 for half the season, 36 for the second half

Year 7 - He's 36 for half the season, 37 for the second half

So if we offer him 7 years, at worst we're getting half of the last season where he's 37. There's risk in any long term contract that pushes a player past 35 but a contract that ends a few months after a guy turns 37 doesn't scare as much, especially in today's NHL for this type of player. I think it's becoming less the exception and more the norm for these types of skilled offensive players to keep playing at a pretty high level into their mid/late 30s. The 7 years above would actually take him to a very similar age that the Erik Cole contract does, and most of us were willing to accept the risk despite the fact Cole had a ton of red flags in terms of injuries and production inconsistencies.

8 years starts to scare me more, but even then it's only a few months of a 38 year old player.

I was actually working off the premise that we have to give him 8 years to keep him since it's mostly our only edge. Although I suppose my math was wrong I meant through his 38th birthday rather than his 39th. Normally with UFA's we either have to overpay in years or money because of the taxes, If we are signing him for 7 years, I expect it to take over 7 million and maybe into the 8's.

We aren't looking at a hometown discount, it's a UFA situation and given our cap constraints relative to some other teams with more room and the taxes in the market, I'm assuming our only real edge and hand to play is that we can offer him 8 years instead of 7.

As for it becoming more the norm for players to produce into their mid/late 30's, all the evidence I've read over the last few years is that in today's game players are peaking earlier than ever. The magic number used to be 27 for players but it seems most players peak in their early 20's. The risk you're taking is that Vanek in year 1 of an 8 year deal is at an age where regression is already becoming possible and by year 4 of the deal it's gone from possible to likely.

As for the Cole contract, here are some differences:

- Smaller cap hit, obviously makes it easier to swallow the risk.

- Despite Cole being older at signing, the contract being shorter clearly provides less risk. Part of the risk is the age it goes to, yes but a large part is also that Vanek COULD regress in year 1-2, players do regress in their early 30's. It's not as rare as some imply. He has a game built 100% around offensive production. Even at 25 goals 30-35 assists, he's not worth 7.5 million. He's not a high end possession player. He's averaged only slightly more than the 25 goals 30-35 assists I mentioned in the past 5 years. It's just not the caliber of player the justifies the risk right now IMO. As for Cole, the closer it is to the end of the contract, the less variables there are. It's easier to project. Really the only way for Cole's contract to have been an albatross was to totally misread where he was at RIGHT when we signed him and have him come in and immediately be unproductive.

IF (major if) Vanek spends the next 5 years producing exactly as much as he did from 25-30 and struggles in the last 3 years of the deal, it's probably a bad contract. That might be the best case. I know you have to sign bad contract in free agency but I think best case, this is pretty bad and there's a MASSIVE potential downside. I just don't know why you guys are so confident his 30-36 seasons will be as productive as the previous 5.

- NHL CBA. This is a big one. At the time of the Cole signing there were methods for a team with a large amount of money to rid themselves of a bad cap hit. It wasn't obvious that we would do it, but if Cole was prohibiting us from signing a busted out Galchenyuk to a long term deal, we had the means to make that contract disappear.

I'd rather

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Bah, the stupid site timed out and ruined my original reply. Here is a cole's notes version:

First off, all great points, and you could very well be right; there's a good chance it does take 8 years to get him here. Maybe even with 8 years on the table he decides to move on. You're also right, the old prime/peak used to be 28-33 or so but it's definitely earlier now. I guess to explain myself better, I don't think players are peaking or hitting their prime later (I agree it's happening earlier), but I think the decline is becoming a more gradual slope for certain types of players: offensively skilled guys who don't play/rely on an overly punishing style and don't have much injury history).

I really don't have a ton to back that up. I was just reading an article about a week old that showed a pretty sharp decline in players' offensive output through their 30s, but there was a follow up that looked specifically at the more offensively talented group (I think the paramater was 0.7PPG players), and production from 30-34 was something like 85% or 90% on average of there production from 25-29.

It's a scary proposition signing any player to 7-8 years at 30, but depending on the dollar about I think he's a decent candidate to take the risk. Very consistent scorer, nice upside and very skilled, no significant injury history.

P.S. I hope I didn't come off as pompous with the age breakdown, I just think given the type of decline were talking about one or two extra years can be pretty important.

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Bah, the stupid site timed out and ruined my original reply. Here is a cole's notes version:

First off, all great points, and you could very well be right; there's a good chance it does take 8 years to get him here. Maybe even with 8 years on the table he decides to move on. You're also right, the old prime/peak used to be 28-33 or so but it's definitely earlier now. I guess to explain myself better, I don't think players are peaking or hitting their prime later (I agree it's happening earlier), but I think the decline is becoming a more gradual slope for certain types of players: offensively skilled guys who don't play/rely on an overly punishing style and don't have much injury history).

I really don't have a ton to back that up. I was just reading an article about a week old that showed a pretty sharp decline in players' offensive output through their 30s, but there was a follow up that looked specifically at the more offensively talented group (I think the paramater was 0.7PPG players), and production from 30-34 was something like 85% or 90% on average of there production from 25-29.

It's a scary proposition signing any player to 7-8 years at 30, but depending on the dollar about I think he's a decent candidate to take the risk. Very consistent scorer, nice upside and very skilled, no significant injury history.

P.S. I hope I didn't come off as pompous with the age breakdown, I just think given the type of decline were talking about one or two extra years can be pretty important.

I'm mostly just working on the premise here that like I said, since he has little attachment to the city, he was clear he intended on going UFA and we probably can't match the highest dollar offer he'll get (especially with the tax factor) our only real ace in the hole is that we can offer him 1 extra year that other teams can't. If I'm wrong and he signs for less term or a contract below market value, I'll gladly eat my words.

As for the decline in those age groups, if Vanek were to take even a 15% decline from his 25-29 seasons, which was already an offensive decline from his early years and couple that with bad defensive value. It could be problematic. It's not necessarily that I expect him to go in the tank ala Scott Gomez, but like I said, I question his actual value right now as it is. I'm not sure he's a player who's worth what he'll get on the cap even for the next 3-4 years and that would make the last 4 years especially hard for me to swallow. I think for us to justify paying him what he'll get, he needs to outproduce his last 5 seasons over his next 5. Not impossible, I'm just not better on it.

The talk on twitter right now is that people are comfortable with 8x8 and I can honestly see it taking that but I'm completely uncomfortable with it. Completely.

As for it being pompous, not at all. I was overstating his age by a year, not sure where I messed up the math on it. I think it makes a difference certainly. I'm not comfortable with it through 38 either though. If the option is 8 for 7.5 or 6 for 8.5, I'd probably choose the latter.

If the plan is to sign Vanek, the plan has to be to contend now. So we're probably looking at committing 23-25 mill a year on the cap to Markov, Subban and Vanek this summer. We'll have to start maneuvering. We don't have a ton of cap space.

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I think our core is ready to win now, and as I said, if you sign Vanek to a 7-year deal and it helps you win a Cup in the first 3-4 years, then to me, it's a good deal no matter how the rest of it pans out. There's no point in adding a player like Gomez to a mediocre team that struggles to make the playoffs. But if you have a Price, a Subban, a Pacioretty, a Plekanec, as good a 4th line as there is in the league, and an improving set of key youngsters like Gallagher, Galchenyuk, Tinordi, Beaulieu, and Eller, this team has the key elements to win. You may need to shore up the D a bit, but it's doable. Vanek may be the piece that puts this team over the top, and most importantly, he's a player that you probably can't just pick up at will to make a Cup run every year. Those players just aren't available and when they are, they're highly coveted. We got lucky to have picked him up this year, but in the future, acquiring another scorer of his ilk might take two first rounders or it might cost us Tinordi or Beaulieu or De La Rose or so on. There's enough upside to signing him that I can deal with the downside of the deal not working out long-term. MB needs to set a number and term in his head, make his best offer, and see if it's enough to keep Vanek. If he walks anyways, he walks anyways and you know you did your best to keep him. But to me, that number is somewhere in the range of the 7-year, 50M deal the Isles offered. If he sees us as being more of a contender and a better hockey town, maybe that's enough to make the difference.

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Guest mrsmarkov

He's not a fancy player and I don't care about that. I love how he's always in front of the net. He doesn't care what the goal looks like, all he cares about is getting the puck in the net. That's all I ask for.

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See Ted there's part of me that feels that way, but the other part of me sees that Gallagher and Galchenyuk need new deals soon and we won't be getting PK for a cent under 7M. I agree with you about taking the plunge and I'm with Roy that I would be excited if we brought him back no matter what the term was (cap space doesn't put pucks in the net).

The sad part is Briere + Bourque is 7.5M which would basically cover Vanek but hey character is off the charts here in Montreal.

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See Ted there's part of me that feels that way, but the other part of me sees that Gallagher and Galchenyuk need new deals soon and we won't be getting PK for a cent under 7M. I agree with you about taking the plunge and I'm with Roy that I would be excited if we brought him back no matter what the term was (cap space doesn't put pucks in the net).

The sad part is Briere + Bourque is 7.5M which would basically cover Vanek but hey character is off the charts here in Montreal.

I guess part of that comes down to what else you're willing to part with to get under the cap. I think having players like Tinordi and Beaulieu step into the top 6 will help us save money on D, and the same can be said for the likes of Bournival up front. Players like Emelin or Gorges would probably still be tradable on the back end, and if we can bring back Vanek, I would be willing to pass on bringing back Gionta. You can also look at trading the likes of Moen or Bourque or Briere (in his contract year).

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That's true. Gorges and Emelin are both moveable pieces and both can be replaced with Beaulieu/TInordi. I'd even go as far as to consider moving both of them because replacing them with Tinordi and Beaulieu would be a massive saving and I honestly don't even think there'd be much (if any) drop off on the ice. Emelin has really been that bad this year.

Markov-Subban

Beaulieu-Weaver/UFA #4

Tinordi-UFA #6/Pateryn

Weak on the #4 second pairing but Emelin's been awful there anyway so you're not losing much. It's something to think about, you move those two guys and that's 6M saved off the cap roughly and adds some more room to retain Vanek and Subban. Maybe I'm being naive in thinking Beaulieu is ready for top 4 minutes but honestly I don't think it's a huge stretch, the guy looked excellent and was good enough to carry Douglas Murray on his off side as a rookie.

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I think we're too light down the middle and on the back end to be a legitimate Cup contender and that's probably partially why I feel like it's not the time to take a franchise altering gamble on a LWer. I mean, the reasons I listed are the defining factors, I just don't think it's reasonable value but if I thought we were 1 LW move away from serious Cup contention for 2-3 years, I'd maybe feel differently.

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We can definitely pick up the cap space to keep Vanek and it would be nice if this works out that way. What I like about this is teams will have to adapt to our line-up and backoff our D on the powerplay. Desharnais is clearly the playmaker Vanek needs and having Patches creating space and sniping on the other side can make this a very dangerous line. Our lines have a good mixture of experience and youth. This could be the deal that puts us on an equal footing with Boston for favourites in the east. Pittsburgh has some issues with goaltending and defense. If Vanek can continue to play well we will be a tough team to defend. And then there's Carey!

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I think we're too light down the middle and on the back end to be a legitimate Cup contender and that's probably partially why I feel like it's not the time to take a franchise altering gamble on a LWer. I mean, the reasons I listed are the defining factors, I just don't think it's reasonable value but if I thought we were 1 LW move away from serious Cup contention for 2-3 years, I'd maybe feel differently.

I agree with you that we don't have an ideal run down the middle (although we're doing okay with the makeshift set-up we have) and I certainly agree that the D is an issue. That being said, the center issue can be sorted out internally if the team decides to move Galchenyuk there. There will be a short adjustment period, but he's got the talent to make it work, and we have enough depth there (Eller, DD, Plekanec, Briere) to spot him in key moments if we need to. The back end is another issue, but let's say we re-sign Markov and go into next year with Markov, Subban, Tinordi, Beaulieu, and two of Gorges/Emelin/Weaver. It's not ideal by any means, but you have a fair bit of ability to move the puck and you have a mix of offensive and defensive guys. And more than anything, you don't have the huge liabilities like Murray, Bouillon, Weber, MAB, Traverse, and so on. While the young guys would need to gain some experience, they've both shown enough that I'm willing to let them grow into the line-up. The key for MB will be to add another top 3 defenceman into the mix, but if you throw in a player like Yandle or Bogosian or Coburn by trade, suddenly that D looks a lot more complete, and it would be something that I think could be sufficient to make a Cup run. The other aspect of that would be simply using our assets a little better - giving Subban 27 minutes a game instead of 24 could be a big help. Playing Emelin on the correct side could help. Not having Murray or Bouillon laden down a pairing will help guy who would have been playing with them...

So to me, if we're willing to work in some of our NHL-ready youngsters, we're not too far off. The pieces that are hard to acquire via trade or free agency are in place (Price, Subban, Pacman, Gallagher, Plekanec, Galchenyuk, etc.). So to me, Vanek and one more defenceman can be all we need to put us into the top tier of teams in the league. I'd vouch we're already one of the 10 best teams in the league on paper right now and with the right coaching, we could be a Cup contender easily. For the past two years, we've talked at length about how trading Cammalleri left us in dire need of a true scorer. Well now we have one, a guy who has a bit more size and can handle being in the dirty areas a little better. If we let him go, we instantly have a need for another sniper to take his place. And while I agree that Vanek is not the last piece we need, why give him up if we don't have to? Why not try to retain him and then work on getting the last piece or two in place over the off-season rather than taking a step back and finding ourselves down a sniper AND a top 3 D man?

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Oh boy. Free agency is COSTLY. :blink: It's true though. If we want him to stay we'd have to take advantage of the fact that we can offer an extra year that other teams cannot offer. It would be such an expensive risk. I would love to have him stay with the team. It's too bad it would be impossible to do this for 5 or 6 years instead of 7 or 8.

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Oh boy. Free agency is COSTLY. :blink: It's true though. If we want him to stay we'd have to take advantage of the fact that we can offer an extra year that other teams cannot offer. It would be such an expensive risk. I would love to have him stay with the team. It's too bad it would be impossible to do this for 5 or 6 years instead of 7 or 8.

The way I see it, is that if we were to give him players like he has now,,,then he might/could put up similar numbers as the years go by. In the end,, I would take the risk at 7 for 8 years. We basically stole him from the Isles. These types of players just don't fall in your lap aver day or year. IMO, MB should find a way to keep him.

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The way I see it, is that if we were to give him players like he has now,,,then he might/could put up similar numbers as the years go by. In the end,, I would take the risk at 7 for 8 years. We basically stole him from the Isles. These types of players just don't fall in your lap aver day or year. IMO, MB should find a way to keep him.

8 years give us an advantage, but is it necessary? The thing about Minnesota is that if Vanek is choosing it because of his wife and family, he's probably going to choose it over anything we offer him, whether it's 7 or 8 years. If he's choosing Montreal because he thinks we have a better shot at winning or because he's tired of changing teams, then again, I'm not sure 7 or 8 years makes a difference. If it comes down to money, it's the total cost of the contract not the term that's going to distinguish two deals. If Vanek makes 55M over 7 years or 8 years, he'll probably take the 7 year deal... it just becomes a question of whether the Habs would want to reduce the cap hit by spreading it out over an extra year.

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The risk isn't worth it. We have a number of important contracts coming up (Subban, Galchenyuk) and we're still tied to Bourque and Briere in the short term. We might also have to find a way to fit Markov under the cap for at least a year. This is in addition to the contracts of Price, Plekanec, Gorges, and Pacioretty that we're already carrying. I'd take a flyer on Vanek at five years. I would not go higher than a five-year term. I don't know why everyone is so confident he'd be good or even decent value through a seven or eight-year deal that takes him well into his late '30s. These are exactly the kinds of contracts that look attractive in year one but can look abominable very quickly if the player experiences even a mild decline.

Vanek is a one-dimensional goalscorer with no defensive capability and little value as a possession player. He's not elite -- why pay him like an elite scorer? Let some other team give him eight years and then regret it by year four. I understand that we need goalscoring, but you can't pay any price for non-elite talent just because you have a deficit. There are other ways of finding that scoring, and those other ways don't carry the risk of a costly UFA signing, where you're always overpaying. Keep in mind that you are buying up a player's '30s here. So don't expect to get '20s production from a 30-something player. If you get it, great, but to enter into an eight-year deal gambling that you will get it? That's too much risk IMO.

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IMHO all the discussion of will we or wont we will be totally moot if we do anything less than game 7 round 2. If we lose in the first round, or easily in the 2nd, Vanek will almost certainly not resign. He got a pretty substantial offer from the isle but balked because he wanted to play for a contender. No better way to gauge if a team is one than by playing for them.

So we'll see once the playoffs have come and gone but unless we win a couple of rounds, id be very surprised to see him resigned. If we do win som, then at that point, who knows.

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