With some spots still available up front, the Florida Panthers could possibly re-sign Thomas Vanek to a short term deal.
When penciling in and playing around with what we have up front, the Panthers are looking like a whole team. The majority of our forwards are in their early to mid twenty’s. The Cats don’t have as much veteran presence as they use too, losing guys like Jagr and Jokinen. Apart from MacKenzie, Haley, Vrbata and Sceviour, we have a really young team.
The new direction of this team is simple: “let the young guys take charge”. There will be no more turning to Jagr or even Jokinen. Those two are gone. It’s up to our young guns to step up and lead the pack. On the flip side though, it wouldn’t hurt to add another veteran presence who can also add to our offense. That veteran of course would be Thomas Vanek.
At 33 years of age, his one year, $2.6 million dollar deal has expired, thus making him a UFA. Since the start of Free Agency (July 1st), Thomas is still yet to be approached by any teams. There have been very little rumors surrounding the Austrian native, and there’s still a possibility that he and the Panthers can work out a deal. Even if it’s for one year.
A deal in the park of one year, at $1 million should honestly persuade him into rejoining with the team. While the team is young and probably quicker, Thomas will add some experience around the net. Keeping him for another year should not hurt the Cats by any means. In fact, it’ll help balance out the lines.
With that being said, there is always the flip side of things you need to look at as well. I feel that Dale Tallon has not offered Vanek a contract yet, as he feels that someone like Thomas could be taking a spot away from a younger/cheaper player in the minors. My only concern with this would be 3/4th of the veteran players I mentioned above are all 4th line guys. With the exception of Radim, who will likely slide into the second line with Trocheck.
Adding Thomas would only balance out the lines further, with both experience and skill. I wouldn’t give him more than one year as he is getting up there in age. However, for another year, he can definitely contribute offensively. After that, I would open up the spot to someone in the minors who’s ready.
Overall, while the Panthers continue to play around with what they have up front, they must not forget about the experience and talent that Thomas Vanek can bring for another year.