Ex-Minnesota Golden Gophers star forward Thomas Vanek was traded from the Buffalo Sabres to the New York Islanders on Sunday night.
“I enjoyed my time there, but I didn’t want to be a part of that,” Vanek told reporters when asked about playing for the rebuilding Sabres. “We traded pretty much every veteran. The message was clear that they’re going for draft picks. I think our last game we played four teenagers. Good, young players, but young players take time.”
Prior to being traded, there was a lot of speculation that Vanek was going to sign with the Minnesota Wild following the season. Vanek has tieds to Minnesota. He played for the Gophers, has a home in the state, and his good friend and former teammate in Buffalo is Jason Pominville.
The Wild traded for Pominville last season.
Michael Russo of the Star Tribune says it's possible the Islanders try to sign Vanek to a longterm extension by throwing a mountain of money at him, but contract talks haven't happened between Vanek and New York. As Russo put it, don't stop the #VanekWatch just yet.
Pominville recently signed a 5-year extension with the Wild, so if Vanek wants to play with his buddy he'll have to come to Minnesota.
Vanek, who finished with 20 goals in the shortened 2012-13 season (13th in the NHL), has four goals and five assists so far this season.
The right-shot was instrumental in leading the Gophers to a National Championship in 2003. Minnesota hasn't won a national title since.