Bring in Vanek to replace Kane?

Andrew Peters makes an arguement for bringing back Thomas Vanek if the Sabres move on from Evander Kane

Andrew Peters
May 25, 2017 - 10:25 am

Photo: Robert Mayer - USA TODAY Sports

So... Evander Kane's name has been thrown around in the trade mill again.

Let's say it's real, hypothetically of course.

New Buffalo Sabres general manager Jason Botterill has a big decision to make about Kane. It's the last year of his deal and he just had an outstanding season, even with the rib injury in the season opener and not scoring much after he returned. Kane then went on a hot streak in December, and finished the season with 28 goals in 70 games.

Being a salary cap savvy guy, Botterill might not want to pay Kane more than Ryan O'Reilly and why would Kane ask for a penny less?

I'll be honest, he'd be very tough to replace, but if the Sabres could bolster their defense I think I would pull the trigger on a deal.Perhaps the bigger question is how do you replace the goal scoring ability?

I have a quick fix idea - bring back Thomas Vanek.

Vanek definitely has some game left in the tank. A natural god-gifted goal scorer, Vanek would be a nice fit on any of the top-three lines. The best part? He wouldn't break the bank. Vanek made $2.6 million this past season when he signed a free agent deal with the Detroit Red Wings.

Vanek finished the 2016-17 season with 48 points (17 goals, 31 assists) in 68 games. Compare that to Kane's 43 points (28 goals, 15 assists) in 70 games.

Botterill and Vanek played together both in Rochester with the Americans and in Buffalo with the Sabres.

I can see the Sabres slapping Vanek right on the top line alongside Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart. Let Jack carry the puck into the zone and look for Vanek in the slot or in front of the net. Vanek's lethal release, mixed in with great touch in front the net and some great playmaking abilities would be a nice compliment to Jack.

Look at Vanek's last three seasons in the NHL:

He's played a combined 222 games with the Minnesota Wild, Red Wings and Florida Panthers and has recorded 141 points (56 goals, 85 assists).

Yes, I get the speed factor, but I also know if you're shipping out a scorer, you have to replace him with a scorer. I feel Vanek can still do that and be a great fit back with his old team.

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