In the past, the Red Wings have loved their veteran UFA signings so much that they’ve signed Thomas Vanek twice in the last three years. With the team under different leadership now, they’re heading in a different direction. Vanek is once again a free agent, but he’s been informed that there’s not a fit with Detroit for this year.

At 35-years-old, Vanek will be heading into the 15th season of his NHL career. Especially in the last few years, his production has dipped as he’s struggled to keep up with the kids. His 16 goals were 5th on the team last season and his 36 points ranked him 6th.

Vanek’s presence wasn’t the worst thing in the world. The guy may be slow, but he’s an incredibly smart player and a great mentor for some of the young kids. They were often paired with him to take advantage of his playmaking ability, allowing him to feed them pucks and build confidence.

Allowing Vanek to walk opens up a permanent spot on the wing that will either be filled internally or via free agency. It’s a great opportunity for Filip Zadina or Evgeny Svechnikov to step up and show that they’re ready for the NHL. This could be Svechnikov’s last chance. As for free agency, there are a few options available, but nothing that exciting. Vanek can now be added to that list.


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