| 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
218 lb (99 kg)
| NHL Team|
| Florida Panthers|
Detroit Red Wings
New York Islanders
|Born|| January 19 1984,|
Baden bei Wien, Austria
|NHL Draft|| 5th overall, 2003|
|Pro Career||2004 – present|
Thomas Vanek (born 19 January 1984) is an Austrian professional ice hockey left wing currently playing for the Florida Panthers of the National Hockey League (NHL). He has played for the Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders, Montreal Canadiens, Minnesota Wild, and Detroit Red Wings. Vanek was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres fifth overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, making him the highest drafted Austrian in NHL history.
Vanek was born in Baden bei Wien, Austria, to Slovak mother Jarmila and Czech father Zdeněk, who moved in 1982 from Czechoslovakia to Austria. He grew up in Zell am See (Salzburg) and in Graz (Styria), where his father played professional ice hockey. In 1998, at the age of 14, he moved to Canada.
After playing junior hockey for the Sioux Falls Stampede of the United States Hockey League (USHL), Vanek joined the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers, leading the team in goals (31), assists (31) and points (62) in the 2002–03 season. In part to his prolific scoring touch, the Golden Gophers won the 2003 NCAA National Championship. Vanek was named MVP of the Frozen Four tournament, scoring the game winning goals in both the semifinal against Michigan in overtime and in the final against New Hampshire. He was also named Minnesota's team MVP for 2003, becoming the first freshman to receive the honor. He scored the most points by a Golden Gopher freshman in 2003 since Aaron Broten who scored 72 total points in 1979–80. He was the first freshman to lead the team in scoring since Mike Antonovich in 1969–70. His 31 goals also led all NCAA freshmen in goal scoring, and was fourth in the entire country. He was also the 2003 WCHA Rookie of the Year, the third Golden Gopher to win the award.
Vanek was a member of the Austrian national team in the 2004 IIHF World Championships, where he collected seven points in six games (two goals and five assists). Vanek led the Golden Gophers in goals (26) and points (51) for the second-straight season and finished fifth in points among Division I leaders with 51. Vanek was the Twin Cities Best College Athlete for 2004.
Vanek spent 2004–05 with the Sabres' AHL affiliate Rochester Americans, recording 68 points in 74 games and helped Rochester to the best record in the AHL. Vanek finished second on the team in points, 11 points behind Chris Taylor, but led the team in goals with 42 and in power play goals with 25. He finished second among rookies in points and led all rookies in goals scored, the latter of which was second in the league among all players.
Vanek signed a three-year deal with Buffalo on September 3, 2004, and began playing for the Sabres in 2005–06 after a season with their AHL affiliate. He had a promising rookie season with 25 goals and 48 points in 81 games for the Sabres. His performance tailed off in the playoffs, managing 2 goals in 10 games.
Vanek recorded his best statistical season, the following year in 2006–07. He played in all 82 regular season games for the Sabres, scoring 43 goals, tied for fifth in the league, and 41 assists. He also finished an NHL best +47, earning the NHL Plus/Minus Award. Upon the expiration of his rookie contract during the 2007 off-season, Vanek signed a seven-year $50 million offer sheet from the Edmonton Oilers. The Sabres immediately matched the offer sheet, thus keeping Vanek under contract until at least the end of the 2013–14 season. Despite his lucrative new contract, Vanek's production dipped to 64 points in 2007–08.
In the midst of a more productive year, however, Vanek was named to his first NHL All-Star Game in 2009 in Montreal. He helped the East to a 12-11 shootout victory over the West. Earlier in the season, on December 13, 2008, Vanek helped the Sabres reach a milestone by scoring the 10,000th goal in franchise history. Following the All-Star Game, on February 4, 2009, Vanek carved a unique little slice of NHL history with a natural hat-trick to cap the Sabres' 5-0 cruise past the Toronto Maple Leafs in HSBC Arena. It was also Vanek’s fourth consecutive natural hat-trick, matching an NHL record set by Cy Denneny between 1923 and 1924 with the old Ottawa Senators. Later that week, on February 7, Vanek took a slapshot from Anton Volchenkov of the Ottawa Senators, fracturing his jaw. He underwent surgery the next day and was announced to be out of the lineup for three to four weeks. At the time of the injury, Vanek was third in the league goal-scoring. At the end of the 2008-2009 season Vanek would score a total of 40 goals with 24 assists totaling 64 points. At the end of the season Vanek led the NHL in Powerplay goals with 20.
The 2009-10 season also started on a sour note as Vanek sustained an upper body injury after scoring two goals in a 6-2 win against the Detroit Red Wings on October 13, he has since returned. Vanek had scored 3 goals in 4 games up to that point. 4-10-10 Vanek scored 4 goals against Ottawa (one on a penalty shot) in the first two periods.
On 1 October 2013, the Sabres names Vanek and Steve Ott captains; Vanek would wear the "C" for home games while Ott would wear the "C" for road games.
New York Islanders and Montreal Canadiens Edit
On 27 October 2013, Vanek was traded to the New York Islanders for Matt Moulson, a conditional 2014 first-round draft pick and a 2015 second-round draft pick. He immediately joined the team's top line alongside John Tavares and Kyle Okposo. On 4 February 2014, Vanek confirmed that he had turned down a contract extension offer from the Islanders. The contract was reportedly for seven years and $50 million.
On 5 March 2014, Vanek was dealt to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Sebastian Collberg and a second-round draft pick. On 19 March 2014, he scored his first three goals for the team – a hat trick in a game against the Colorado Avalanche that they went on to win 6–3. However, Vanek was noted for his lackluster performance during the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs, including scoring just five even-strength points over 17 games. In late June, Canadiens General Manager Marc Bergevin announced that the team would not be resigning Vanek, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent.
Minnesota Wild Edit
On 1 July 2014, Vanek signed a three-year contract with the Minnesota Wild for $5.5 million in the first year, $6.5 million in the second year and $7.5 million in the third year, for a total of $19.5 million. His contract also included a no-trade clause.
With the Wild up against the salary cap and having endured an unsuccessful stint with the Wild, Vanek's last year of his contract was bought-out by Minnesota on 24 June 2016.
Detroit Red Wings Edit
On 1 July 2016, Vanek signed a one-year, $2.6 million contract with the Detroit Red Wings reuniting him with Co-Captain Steve Ott when a member with the Sabres.
Florida Panthers Edit
Personal life Edit
Vanek and his wife Ashley have three sons. They live in Stillwater, Minnesota.
On 21 July 2014, Vanek's name was listed in records seized from The Marina Restaurant & Bar, a Rochester, New York, facility suspected of running an illegal gambling ring. For his part, Vanek denies all wrongdoing, is cooperating with authorities and does not expect to be charged with any crime.
|1999–00||Sioux Falls Stampede||USHL||35||15||18||33||12||3||0||1||1||8|
|2000–01||Sioux Falls Stampede||USHL||20||19||10||29||15||8||5||4||9||2|
|2001–02||Sioux Falls Stampede||USHL||53||46||45||91||54||3||0||0||0||9|
|2002–03||U. of Minnesota||NCAA||45||31||31||62||60||—||—||—||—||—|
|2003–04||U. of Minnesota||NCAA||38||26||25||51||72||—||—||—||—||—|
|2013-14||New York Islanders||NHL||47||17||27||44||34||—||—||—||—||—|
|2016-17||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||48||15||23||38||16||—||—||—||—||—|
Awards and honours Edit
|All-WCHA Rookie Team||2002–03|
|All-WCHA Second Team||2002–03|
|All-NCAA All-Tournament Team||2003|
|All-WCHA Second Team||2003–04|
|AHCA West Second-Team All-American||2003–04|
|NHL YoungStars Game||2006-07|
|NHL Plus/Minus Award||2006-07|
|NHL Second All-Star Team||2006-07|
|NHL All-Star Game||2009|
|NHL Leader in Power Play Goals (20)||2008-09|
External Links Edit
|Awards and achievements|
|Preceded by||NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player|
|Preceded by||Buffalo Sabres first round draft pick|
|Austrian Sportsman of the year|
|Preceded by||Winner of the NHL Plus/Minus Award|
|Preceded by||Buffalo Sabres captain|
with Steve Ott