Former Gopher, Wild forward Thomas Vanek signs with Red Wings


It's not a surprise but Thomas Vanek's return to Minnesota officially came to an end Friday afternoon.

Vanek agreed to a one-year, $2.6-million deal with the Detroit Red Wings.

Vanek, 32, has 316 goals and 333 assists in 817 NHL games with Buffalo, the New York Islanders, Montreal and Minnesota. During his two seasons with the Wild he netted a total of 39 goals (18 last year, 21 in 2014-15), but largely his time in Minnesota was considered a disappointment.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Vanek is a low risk option for Detroit after forward Matt Martin rejected their $2.5 million offer to head to Toronto.

Vanek became a free agent when the Wild bought out the final year of his contract last week. The move helped save Minnesota $5 million on next season's salary cap.

"We all hoped it would work out really well," Wild G.M. Chuck Fletcher told the Pioneer Press last week. "But unfortunately for our situation, we needed to clear some cap space and that was the easiest way for us to get the space we feel we need to move forward this summer."

However the blog Today's Slapshot didn't think it made a lot of sense for the Wild to sign the former Gophers standout from the start.

"Vanek was a free-wheeling, creative forward who thrived in the offensive zone but was a liability anywhere else on the ice. Minnesota was a meat-and-potatoes team whose success was predicated on their ability to frustrate opponents with defense."

Minnesota has been active with the increased cap space. The Wild signed Chris Stewart and Eric Staal Friday.

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