The Montreal Canadiens made a huge splash minutes before the NHL trade deadline today, adding elite winger Thomas Vanek from the New York Islanders.
Vanek has 21 goals and 53 points this season, split between the Buffalo Sabres and the Islanders. His 21 goals place him comfortably in second place on the Habs trailing only Max Pacioretty. The Austrian wingers 53 points places him way ahead of any current Canadien, nine points ahead of Pacioretty and P.K. Subban who are tied with 44.
The Canadiens gave up a second round pick and prospect Sebastien Collberg in return for Vanek. This is a minimal return to give up for a legit top line winger who adds tons of skill to the Habs lineup.
Consider that the Islanders gave up a top six winger in Matt Moulson, a first round draft pick and a second round pick to get Vanek just four months ago. The fact that General Manager Marc Bergevin was able to land the big skilled winger for just a former and future second rounder is beyond a steal.
Vanek will fit in very nicely on the Habs roster. He is a big winger at 6’2” and over 200 pounds who plays the left side and will fit in the top six. The Habs now have Vanek, Pacioretty and Alex Galchenyuk all playing left wing, and three solid centers in Lars Eller, Tomas Plekanec and David Desharnais.
It has long been rumored that Vanek will be heading to the Minnesota Wild this offseason, but even if he does and obviously only plays 18 games plus playoffs with the Canadiens, this deal is well worth the risk in a wide open Eastern Conference.
The Canadiens just got a whole lot better, and didn’t mortgage much of the future to do so. Montreal was a huge winner at this year’s trade deadline.