Former Minnesota Wild forward Thomas Vanek is looking for a fresh start as a member of the Detroit Red Wings.
Vanek, who helped lead the University of Minnesota to a national championship in 2003, signed with the Wild two years ago before the start of the 2014-15 season.
He had hoped his homecoming would have been a dream come true, but his two seasons with the Wild didn't play out that way, and now at 32, Vanek is looking to reboot his career in Detroit.
"I know I can still play the game and score goals. For me the biggest thing was Minnesota just wasn't a good fit," Vanek told the Buffalo News. "It is what it is. There's no rhyme or reason for it. It didn't work out."
Vanek was speaking to reporters at the Wold Cup of Hockey in Toronto. NBC Sports notes it's not the first time Vanek has hinted that Minnesota wasn't a great fit for him.
"It's always easy to look back and I say I should have done this or that. I knew going into it that it wasn't going to be easy, but I didn't care. I wanted the challenge. I wanted to see if it could work," said Vanek to the Buffalo News. "It's a place that's close to my heart. The only championship I've ever was in my college days there and to win another one there would have been awesome. It just didn't work out."
He scored 21 goals during his first season with Minnesota, but was shutout in the playoffs. Things went from bad to worse last year when Vanek netted a career-low 18 goals and tallied just 41 points. He then missed the postseason because of an upper-body injury.
So after two disappointing seasons the Wild bought out Vanek's contract making him a free agent. He signed a one-year deal with Detroit and now will be reunited with one of his former Buffalo teammates Steve Ott.