That Austrian-born super sniper Thomas Vanek, lately of the Montreal Canadiens, was determined to test the open market as a first-time unrestricted free agent this summer was the worst-kept secret in hockey for months.
Vanek was explicit about wanting to test the open market on July 1 in March, and the widespread belief that he couldn't be re-signed prevented the New York Islanders from maximizing their return for the skilled forward at the trade deadline.
So guess what topic Vanek's agent Steve Bartlett confirmed on Tuesday evening?
Shocker! Bartlett added that Vanek, who he's previously said really enjoyed playing in Montreal, would consider an offer from the Canadiens on July 1.
Vanek has said that "winning" is his chief priority in free agency, but pretty much everyone believes that he's bound to join the Minnesota Wild this summer. The Wild are reportedly willing to spend whatever it takes to land the scoring winger, although perhaps they'll be more cost-conscious after Vanek struggled mightily in the postseason.