May 3, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Montreal Canadiens left wing Thomas Vanek (20) looks for a rebound in front of Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask (40) during the third period in game two of the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Banknorth Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Thomas Vanek To Test Free Agency, Almost Guaranteeing He Will Not Return To Montreal Canadiens

Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports tweeted this evening that Thomas Vanek’s agent has confirmed the Montreal Canadiens winger will test the open market when free agency begins on July 1st.

He also mentioned that the big winger will still entertain an offer from his current team, but will not make up his mind until he sees what else is out there on the open market.

I have to believe this all but ensures that the Austrian winger will not be back with the Habs next season. The chances of him returning were not very high to begin with, but I can guarantee the Canadiens will not make the biggest offer for him, and clearly all he is after is the most money.

Apr 16, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Montreal Canadiens left wing Thomas Vanek (20) shoots as Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Matt Carle (25) defends during the first period in game one of the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Tampa Bay Times Forum. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Vanek had a very hot and cold stint with the Habs this season, although he only suited up for 35 total games after being acquired from the New York Islanders at the trade deadline. The Habs gave up a 2nd round pick in this year’s draft as well as Swedish prospect Sebastien Collberg, and Vanek struggled in his first few games with the Habs.

He then caught fire down the stretch while playing on a line with David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty, but then slowed down once again as the Canadiens went deep into the postseason. Vanek had just 4 points in the Canadiens final 10 playoff games, and found himself playing on the fourth line by the time the Habs were eliminated.

Though he disappointed in the playoffs, his offensive abilities would still be attractive for the Habs, but general manager Marc Bergevin is too conservative to offer the type of contract that he will now fetch as an unrestricted free agent.

A lot of fans will be happy to see him go, as he took a lot of blame for the Canadiens failure to advance beyond the New York Rangers and into the Stanley Cup Final. However, this leaves a void in the Habs top six that desperately needs to be filled this offseason.

Vanek may have been an ideal candidate to fill that void, but at the price he is going to demand there is no chance that Bergevin will bring him back to the Canadiens next season.

Tags: Montreal Canadiens Thomas Vanek

  • HabsVt

    Good luck to him finding “chemistry” Montreal needs players with heart lets get players taht play hard like Gallagher….just a little bigger :)

  • HabsVt

    I would love to see an article on who the canadiens have that is NHL ready for forwards or who is closest in the minors. Defense seems to be much deeper at the moment with Beaulieu, TInordi and Pateryn.

    • Kenny MacMillan

      Unfortunately there are almost no forwards from Hamilton that are NHL ready. Maybe if Dumont bounces back he could play fourth line. A lot of people like Andrighetto but he could use more seasoning. Jacob de la Rose is possible but hard to read how a player will adjust to moving from Sweden

  • Dar Krum

    Bottom line for the Habs is that Vanek filled a huge hole when he arrived. Say whatever you like about him, (he likely deserves both the praise and criticism) but his departure opens that gaping hole once again. Balance on the first two lines going forward is going to be a key in giving room to Pacioretty to do his thing and score 35+ per year.

    Vanek is the most gifted of the scoring forwards available. If we go to free agency, we will have to overpay. Who can we get to fill the need? Do we have a shot at Moulson? Is there a trade to found out there? Love to hear some speculation, either informed or wild guess!

    Right wing is another need with Gionta likely to depart. I mentioned in another response that MAYBE a deal could be made for Chiasson in Dallas. Skilled, young, big, and Quebecois. Kenny thought perhaps Pateryn would be enough to get that deal done. I would jump on that in an instant!

    Imagine a top six like this:
    Pacioretty Desharnais Gallagher
    Moulson Galchenyuk Chiasson

    I am not sure that is quite up to Western conference standards size or skill wise, but it feels like a step in the right direction to me.

    • HabsVt

      How about this

      Pacioretty Desharnais Gallagher
      Moulson Galchenyuk Gaborik
      Bournval Pleks Eller
      Weise ??? Moen

      Both Moulson and Gaborik are free agents and Gaborik has been way better than Vanek in the post season.

      I think Montreal would be wise to dangle Bourque and see what happens. Also if they need cap space buyout Briere (and stop over paying small forwards that are over 30).

      • Kenny MacMillan

        Going after Moulson and Gaborik would require moving both Briere and Bourque to free up space which may take a buy out or two. More of a wild guess than anything but a trade for Parenteau to play second line wing could be a fit. His points fell a bit this past year but that was mostly due to injury/ice time

        • HabsVt

          Yes Bourque for Parenteau was discussed at one point before the deadline. They should look to move Bourque if possible maybe even include a pick for the right player I wonder if Edmonton could be a good trade partner with Montreal having lots of young defense and Edmonton having a lot of young offense….maybe some type of package including Bourque

          • Kenny MacMillan

            You would have to think that Edmonton would be interested in defensemen. It would cost a lot but if they are willing to go blockbuster, maybe a package around Beaulieu and Gorges for Eberle. Would have to be even more from Montreal I would say, but an NHL ready D like Emelin/Gorges, plus a great young probably NHL ready guy like Beaulieu would be hard for the Oilers to ignore.

          • HabsVt

            Yes I realy thought they would maek good trading partners.

            I have read on other sites one person sayong to trade Pacioretty plus a young d man to Win for E Kane. It really think E Kane is overated and it would be insane to ever trade Pacioretty unless Patrick Kane was coming back.

  • Pridenpoise

    If Vanek is just all about the money, screw him, I don’t think he’s going to find a better place with a shot at winning the Cup. And who wouldn’t want to win a cup in Montreal, I mean if you would rather suit up for the Wild, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

    • Kenny MacMillan

      I would say he is either just about the money, or just about heading to a certain location which is rumoured to be Minnesota. Otherwise, why emphatically state a month before free agency you aren’t signing until you hit the open market?
      My theory is his head was already out the door in the playoffs as he dreamed about big bucks in a location of his choice. If that is the case, I agree, don’t let the door hit ya and see ya later

  • HabsVt

    Speaking from experience eh you fat pedophile