Since everyone seemingly despised the six-year deal that was Frans Nielsen, everyone loved the fact that the Red Wings signed Thomas Vanek to a one-year contract.
It was a little unexpected, much like the Brad Richards deal the Red Wings signed last offseason, but I see where they are going with it. Vanek has struggled over the last few seasons in terms of overall production, but he still shows upside in a spot where the Red Wings have had detrimental production — The Power-play.
At $2.6 million over one year, Thomas Vanek could be considered a low-risk, high-reward acquisition. Vanek isn’t a guy that you’re going to give 15+ minutes a night, he’s a specialist — An offensive specialist. Here’s a look at what he can do:
As you can see, Vanek isn’t a guy you can count on in terms of defense, but can be a true weapon in sheltered, offensive situations. The Red Wings spent all season trying to figure out how to put together a consistent power-play. The way I look at it, Vanek is basically a juiced-up version of Teemu Pulkkinen (a guy who is due for a contract.) If the Red Wings can put him in a top-six role where he doesn’t see much time starting in his own zone, he could end up being a highly-potent offensive tool.
This opens up a lot of speculation as to what prospects might be able to make the final roster going into the 2015-2016 regular season, but Ken Holland did weigh in on this:
Holland said he hopes players like Athanasiou and Mantha push for jobs in training camp.— Nick Cotsonika (@cotsonika) July 1, 2016
If the Red Wings are to re-sign Teemu Pulkkinen, certain players would be left out of the picture. There is a lot of chatter about Detroit making some trades to free up space on the forward core, and acquiring some players on defense. Time will tell, but I think that Red Wings faithful can agree that this is a solid addition to a team who had a lot of issues scoring last year.