As the trade deadline quickly approaches, it is more apparent that the New Jersey Devils need a depth scorer. There are many options that would fulfill this need. However, as Devils fans, we must keep in mind the team is still following the guidelines of a rebuild. This simply means rentals are not a likely option, unless you can snag one at the right price. Vancouver forward Thomas Vanek may be a “rental” worth looking at.
The 34-year old forward has played 945 career regular season games, and is recognized around the league as a second or third-line scoring presence. Vanek has also posted a respectable points total (40) on a team that is only averaging 2.7 goals per game (27th in the NHL). A large proportion of his point total (45 percent) this year has been on the power play. These statistics make it easy to conclude Vanek still has his unique scoring touch.
So why would any team, including the Devils who struggle mightily on the power play, not want to acquire Vanek? It’s simple….his defense.
Thomas Vanek ranks second among Canuck’s forwards in CA/60, which simply means when he’s on the ice, his unit is often hemmed in their own zone. He also holds a CF% Rei of -3.88 which ranks second-to-last among Canucks forwards. These numbers may be an outlier as Vanek’s career CF% is 48.8. However, as Vanek battles father time maybe the decrease in underlying numbers are here to stay.
The bottom line is that Vanek may bring a nice scoring touch to any middle-six forward group, along with a respectable power play presence. He will however, struggle defensively. As a team that isn’t too great defensively themselves, the Devils may want to pursue a forward who wouldn’t need to be sheltered whenever he is on the ice. Ultimately, look for Ray Shero to not pursue Vanek and keep following the guidelines of a rebuild.