Report: Wild to 'spend whatever it takes' to sign Canadiens' Vanek

Apr 29, 9:49 AM

If Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold has it his way, Montreal Canadiens forward Thomas Vanek's career will come full circle.

The former Minnesota Golden Gopher, who will explore free agency in search of a long-term deal after donning three different sweaters this season, is reportedly Minnesota's top priority this summer, according to Charley Walters of The St. Paul Pioneer Press.  

This summer, look for Leipold, the Wild owner, to spend whatever it takes -- probably another $40 million or so -- to add free agent Thomas Vanek to the roster.

After Leipold invested over $196 million in Zach Parise and Ryan Suter two summers ago, fitting the contract Vanek covets under the cap would appear farfetched. However, with Dany Heatley's $7.5 million cap hit scheduled to come off the books, the Wild will have the wherewithal, at least, to lure Vanek into harvest green. 

Vanek finished with 27 goals and 68 points this season with the Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders, and Canadiens. He has now scored at least 25 goals in each of his eight full seasons in the league. 

Apr 30, 10:30 AM

Canadiens among 'several teams' that interest Thomas Vanek, says agent

Apr 30, 10:30 AM

In his short and enormously successful stint with the Montreal Canadiens (so far), top-flight sniper Thomas Vanek has been impressed by the city, the fans, and the history. While that doesn't mean the pending unrestricted free-agent will necessarily be signing a long-term extension with the team prior to hitting the open market on July 1st, Vanek seems to at least be somewhat open to it.

"Thomas hasn't decided on anything for next season, but he certainly loved the experience of recent weeks with the Canadiens" Vanek's agent Stephen Bartlett told French-language media outlet LaPresse this week. "I think it shows a greater openness in relation to the signing of a new agreement with the team. Thomas was impressed by the market of Montreal and the team."

Continued Bartlett: "Thomas could always wait for July 1, but I would say that the Canadiens are one of several teams that interest him."

For months the widespread speculation has been that Vanek has his heart set on signing with the Minnesota Wild this offseason. Meanwhile the Wild are reportedly willing to spend "whatever it takes" to attain Vanek's services this summer.

Bartlett suggested that the Wild speculation may be somewhat overblown. "I think people are very quick to establish links," said Bartlett. "People make a link with the Wild simply because Thomas's wife is from Minnesota, and also because he still has a house there, where he will spend his summers. While some begin to draw conclusions in relation to the Wild, and I think it is not very fair."

Quotes have been converted from French to English using google translate

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Feature photo courtesy of USA TODAY Sports/Rick Osentoski