Thank you, Thomas Vanek

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vanekThomas Vanek is no longer a Sabre. We all knew this day would come, and it had to be done, but it’s still tough to see a player of this caliber go. Just like Jason Pominville, Vanek was a core player for the Sabres, but this is a rebuilding phase and it needed to be done.

Selected in the 2003 NHL entry draft, Vanek has never played for a team other than Buffalo. This was his 9th season with the Sabres, and the winger collected 497 points (254 goals, 243 assists) in 598 games.

Vanek began his career in the red and black era, but had the opportunity to contribute during some of the best years in franchise history, but he leaves in what may be some of the worst.

For Vanek’s sake, it’s good a good thing he has been traded. For Buffalo, they lost a great player and continue to build for the years ahead. Vanek was one of the best players the Sabres organization has had and he deserves to be appreciated for his efforts.

Vanek had his share of big moments throughout his time in Buffalo. 

How about the time he scored four goals against Ottawa:

Or when he beat Dominik Hasek with his “around the world” shot:

Or when he scored the 10,000 goal in Sabres history: (go to 3:10 mark)

Or his hat trick against Boston:

Regardless, Thomas Vanek will be missed in Buffalo. The time has come and the trade with the Islanders was necessary for the future. 

“Like a lot of players, he was shocked, very professional,” Regier said. “I thanked him. He was good. He was as good as he could be.”

Vanek“Obviously, Thomas is one of the top proven scorers in the National Hockey League,” Regier said. “But with his unrestricted status, I think Matt comes in and, right now he’s got six goals in the National Hockey League and is off to a good start and is a goal scorer and plays in the hard areas, on the power play. … But this is more the overall deal, which I believe will improve this hockey club moving forward.”

Vanek’s best season came during the 2006-2007 President’s trophy-winning season, when he scored 84 points (43 goals, 41 assists) in 82 games. He was a +47 that year. Vanek hit the 40 goal mark two years later as well. 

Many imagined that Thomas Vanek would go to his hometown team (Minnesota) and be reunited with Jason Pominville, but he’s off to Long Island. He’ll have a pretty good linemate to work with in John Tavares.

Not to mention, Vanek recorded 41 game-winning goals with Buffalo.

We all owe a big thank you to Vanek for everything he did for this franchise.

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