A Vanek Trade Seems Imminent, But One Domino May Have To Fall First

By: Will Burchfield
@burchie_kid

With the NHL trade deadline just hours away, Thomas Vanek is still a Red Wing — but that may not be the case for much longer.

Per TheFourthPeriod, “several teams (are) in the mix” for Detroit’s leading goal scorer, with trade talks picking up on Tuesday night.

The two teams in the hottest pursuit of Vanek appear to be the Kings and the Panthers.

The Panthers missed out on former Canucks LW Jannik Hansen, who was traded to the Sharks on Tuesday night, and seem to view Vanek as a recourse plan. They’re also believed to be in on Coyotes RW Radim Vrbata.

For Wings fans, Vrbata is a name worth keeping an eye on. With 47 points in 62 games, he’ll likely set the market for Vanek, who has 38 points in 48 games. Both players are pending unrestricted free agents.

Once Vrbata is dealt, it’s believed Vanek will follow.

Craig Custance echoed this sentiment in a conversation Wednesday morning with 97.1 The Ticket.

“There’s two similar players available right now, in Vrbata and Vanek, for teams that are looking for goal-scoring wingers. I had somebody suggest to me this morning that maybe the return for each guy is going to be based on what the other guy gets, so you might have a game of chicken on who’s going to get dealt first,” Custance said.

Hansen also provides a reference point for Vanek’s value. The 30-year-old winger, who has six goals and and 13 points in 28 games this season, cost the Sharks well-regarded prospect Nikolay Goldobin (a former first-round pick) and a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2017 draft. Hansen’s production is down this season due to limited action, but he tallied 22 goals in 2015-16.

Red Wings GM Ken Holland told Fox Sports Detroit on Tuesday night that he expects a busy day leading up to the 3 p.m. deadline.

“I anticipate there’s going to be lots of calls tomorrow,” he said. “Certainly got a couple more things I’d like to do before the deadline.”

That was before the Wings dealt Steve Ott to the Canadiens, so a Vanek trade could be the final move on Holland’s agenda. He’s looking for one thing, more than anything else, in return.

“I think for the most part, picks. You look at what’s gone on here with the Red Wings for the last ten years or so, we’ve always been spending draft picks at the trade deadline…so this is an opportunity I think to get some picks,” Holland said.

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