Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Thomas Vanek
Thomas Vanek was born January 19, 1984 in Graz, Austria. The first round, 5th overall selection of the Buffalo Sabres in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, Vanek came to North America in the fall of 1999 and suited up for Sioux Falls of the USHL for three seasons before enrolling at the University of Minnesota in the fall of 2002.

An offensively gifted forward, Vanek played two seasons at Minnesota garnering numerous awards and leading the Golden Gophers to the NCAA Frozen Four title in 2003 before opting to turn pro during the 2004-05 season. In his two seasons of collegiate hockey, Vanek registered 113 points (57-56-113).

In 2004-05, Vanek was named to the AHL's All-Rookie Team, finishing his first professional season with the Rochester Americans with 68 points (42-26-68) while finishing second in the AHL in goal-scoring.

Vanek went on to make his NHL debut with Buffalo during the 2005-06 season. He went on to register a respectable 48 points in 2005-06 and broke out offensively the following season by registering 84 points in 82 games. He also finished an NHL best +47, earning the NHL Plus/Minus Award. In the 2007 off-season, Vanek's rookie contract came to an end and the Edmonton Oilers offered him a seven-year $50 million offer sheet. However the Buffalo Sabres immediately matched the offer, consequently keeping Vanek under contract until the end of the 2013/14 season.

Vanek continued to be Buffalo's most consistent goal scorer, registering 36 goals in 2007-08 and 40 in 2008-09. The prolific Austrian's production dipped in 2009-10, in part due to an upper body injury he suffered early in the year, though he still managed to score 28 times and record 53 points.

In 2010-11, Vanek would once again reach the 30 goal mark, notching 32 to go along with a career-best 41 assists. The following season was much of the same for Vanek. In 78 games for the Sabres the big winger would record 26 goals and 35 assists.

With the NHL mired in a labour stoppage to begin the 2012-13 season, Vanek joined Grazz 99ers of the Austrian Hockey League to start the year. In 11 games for the club he posted five goals and 10 assists.

When play resumed at the NHL level Vanek would rejoin the Buffalo Sabres. Despite missing 10 games during the shortened season, Vanek would once again lead the Sabres in all offensive categories. In 38 games he scored 20 goals and assisted on 21 more for an impressive 41 points.

On October 28, 2013, Vanek's time in Buffalo would come to an end. The big winger was traded to the New York Islanders in exchange for Matt Moulson as well as a first and second round draft pick.

By the trade deadline during the 2013-14 season, it was obvious that the New York Islanders had fallen out of the playoff race. With the focus turned to next year, Vanek was traded once again to the Montreal Canadiens for Sebastian Collberg and a second round draft pick.

In Montreal, Vanek disappointed in the 2014 NHL playoffs where he was only able to post 5 goals and 10 points in 17 games.

At the conclusion of the playoffs, Vanek signed a contract with the Minnesota Wild on July 1, 2014. After two seasons in Minnesota, which included a 21 goal campaign, Vanek was once again a free agent in the summer of 2016. On July 1st he inked a deal with the Detroit Red Wings. Vanek would suit up in 48 games for the club during the 2016-17 season, recording 15 goals and adding 23 assists. On March 1, 2017, the NHL's trade deadline, Vanek was sent to the Florida Panthers in exchange for Dylan McIlrath and a fourth round draft pick.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1999-00 Sioux Falls Stampede USHL 35 15 18 33 12 3 0 1 1 0
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
2001-02 Austria WJC-B 5 5 6 11 2 +5
2002-03 University of Minnesota WCHA 45 31 31 62 60
2002-03 Austria WJC-B 5 9 4 13 10 +5
2003-04 University of Minnesota WCHA 38 26 25 51 72
2003-04 Austria WJC-A 6 3 1 4 37
2003-04 Austria WC-A 6 2 5 7 0 +2
2004-05 Rochester Americans AHL 74 42 26 68 62 -3 5 2 3 5 10
2004-05 Austria Oly-Q 3 1 0 1 0 -1
2005-06 Buffalo Sabres NHL 81 25 23 48 72 -11 10 2 0 2 6
2006-07 Buffalo Sabres NHL 82 43 41 84 40 +47 16 6 4 10 10
2007-08 Buffalo Sabres NHL 82 36 28 64 64 -5
2007-08 Austria WC-B 5 5 5 10 6 +2
2008-09 Buffalo Sabres NHL 73 40 24 64 44 -1
2009-10 Buffalo Sabres NHL 71 28 25 53 42 +9 3 2 1 3 2
2010-11 Buffalo Sabres NHL 80 32 41 73 24 +2 7 5 0 5 0
2011-12 Buffalo Sabres NHL 78 26 35 61 52 -6
2012-13 Graz 99ers Austria 11 5 10 15 4
2012-13 Buffalo Sabres NHL 38 20 21 41 20 -1
2012-13 Austria WC-A 7 4 2 6 2 -2
2013-14 Buffalo Sabres NHL 13 4 5 9 4 -5
2013-14 New York Islanders NHL 47 17 27 44 34 +4
2013-14 Austria Olympics 4 0 1 1 4 -4
2013-14 Montreal Canadiens NHL 18 6 9 15 8 +8 17 5 5 10 4
2014-15 Minnesota Wild NHL 80 21 31 52 37 -6 10 0 4 4 2
2015-16 Minnesota Wild NHL 74 18 23 41 22 -10
NHL Totals 817 316 333 649 463 63 20 14 34 24


USHL First All-Star Team (2002)
USHL MVP (2002)
WCHA All-Rookie Team (2003)
WCHA Second All-Star Team (2003, 2004)
WCHA Rookie of the Year (2003)
NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team (2003)
NCAA Championship Tournament MVP (2003) NCAA West Second All-American Team (2004) AHL All-Rookie Team (2005) NHL Second All-Star Team (2007) Played in NHL All-Star Game (2009)
Signed as a free agent by Graz (Austria), October 1, 2012. Traded to NY Islanders by Buffalo for Matt Moulson and NY Islanders' 1st (later traded to Ottawa - Ottawa selected Colin White) and 2nd (Brendan Guhle) round picks in 2015 NHL Draft, October 27, 2013. Traded to Montreal by NY Islanders with NY Islanders' 5th round pick (Nikolas Koberstein) in 2014 NHL Draft for Sebastian Collberg and Montreal's 2nd round pick (later traded to Tampa Bay - Tampa Bay selected Johnathan MacLeod) in 2014 NHL Draft, March 5, 2014. Signed as a free agent by Minnesota, July 1, 2014. Signed as a free agent by Detroit, July 1, 2016.
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