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Vulgar Opinions: Thomas Vanek, Fan Intelligence Black Hole (NSFW)

08/02/12

Over the past several weeks, I’ve seen a myriad of trade suggestions involving one Thomas Vanek, mostly because he isn’t Chris Drury or Daniel Briere and people are bored and stupid.  (Thanks a lot Darcy.)

Where do you even begin with this cavalcade of skullfuckery?

Don’t get me wrong, I have no issue with parting with Thomas Vanek if it improves the team, but not a single suggestion has actually approached doing that.  I speak specifically about the Zach Parise and Bobby Ryan enthusiasts, but I’ll also add this broad statement: taking the best goal scorer off of a team that lacks goal scoring doesn’t make sense in any known universe.  Believe me, I’ve watched four seasons of Sliders, I know.  If your objective is to get marginally better, then yes, moving Vanek for a marginally better player is fine.  However, I think it’s safe to say that marginal improvement is no one’s objective.

The goal is to become one of the premiere teams in the NHL in short order.  To do that, you keep Vanek, because he is one of the team’s best players.  Especially when you lack similar talent around him.  People will point to what the Flyers did in the summer of 2011, but that isn’t a valid comparison because the Flyers still had James van Riemsdyk, Daniel Briere, and Claude Giroux, acquired Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek, and Brayden Schenn, and signed Jaromir Jagr.  In letting Carter and Richards go, the Flyers still had proven goal-scoring talent coming out their asses.  With Vanek gone, the Sabres have the unfulfilled potential of Tyler Ennis, Marcus Foligno, Drew Stafford, Zemgus Girgensons, Joel Armia, Mikhail Grigorenko, and whatever Vanek nets in return.  Absurd.

Vanek is better than every player I’ve seen people talk about acquiring, largely Parise and Ryan, but I’ll add Getzlaf to the mix as well.  It is absolutely hilarious that people point to Vanek’s struggles last season as a justification for moving him.  1). Thomas Vanek had crap sandwich for centers, and 2). Ryan Getzlaf had 11 goals and 57 points.  For the sake of argument, I will concede that Getzlaf is at least equivalent to Thomas Vanek, and that he fulfills a greater need as a center.  Tell me, who precisely will be scoring the goals after Pominville?  Are we able to make two scoring lines with Stafford, Ott, Leino, Ennis, Foligno, Gerbe, and whoever else wants to try their hand at playing wing?

And Parise and Ryan?  (Parise is, by far, the better option of the two, but I don’t think I want to spend that much time on him considering his deal with Minnesota.)  Let’s not paint these guys as all around dynamos here.  Granted Parise does spend more time on the penalty kill (SHTOI per game 2011-2012 Parise – 1:57, Ryan – 0:42, Vanek – 0:17), but would you really consider that a greater team need than goal scoring?  Vanek’s turnovers are mind-numbingly frustrating, right?  (Takeaway to Giveaway differential – Vanek – minus 19, Ryan – minus 18, Parise – plus 30.)  But that’s all getting away from the point; goal scoring.

Since the Lockout:

Goals Per Game:

  1. Vanek – .836
  2. Parise – .817
  3. Ryan – .780

Assists Per Game

  1. Parise – .430
  2. Vanek – .406
  3. Ryan – .370

Goals Per 60 Minutes of Icetime

  1. Vanek – 1.54
  2. Ryan – 1.38
  3. Parise – 1.28

Assists Per 60 Minutes of Icetime

  1. Vanek -  1.46
  2. Parise – 1.42
  3. Ryan – 1.25

Points Per 60 Minutes of Icetime

  1. Vanek – 3.00
  2. Parise – 2.70
  3. Ryan – 2.63

And that doesn’t even account for the fact that Ryan has played with Getzlaf as his center while Parise has played with Zajac and Elias (admittedly not great, but probably better than the Roy, Niedermayer, Hecht, Leino, Adam, etc. turd burger that Vanek has had), and Parise also had Kovalchuk on the ice drawing far more attention.  I love Jason Pominville, but Ilya Kovalchuk he is not.

What are all these Ryan-lovers going to do if we trade Vanek and he, without a great distributor to play with, becomes a slightly more imposing Drew Stafford?  Hell, where do they get off saying we’d have to add pieces to acquire Ryan?  Are you fucking kidding me?

I get it, Vanek isn’t a leader (has a letter, is a great interview, doesn’t make excuses, has gotten votes of confidence from almost everyone in the locker room), and isn’t “tough,” (has played with internal bleeding, a broken finger, broken ribs, torn ligaments in his leg, and several partially or undisclosed injuries).  Off with his head.

Who are we kidding, he’d still play.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. Dan permalink*
    08/02/12 11:03 PM

    Stop using stats and making sense. You’re ruining my want for an all Right Wing team of the century.

  2. cdr permalink
    08/03/12 12:47 AM

    My favorite so far is Vanek for Lecavalier. And they seemed serious.

  3. Truthbluth permalink
    08/03/12 4:10 AM

    Ok VO, largely, I see your point. And I’ve never thought for one second that Vanek for Bobby Ryan made sense (besides it’s not at all what Anaheim is looking for), but, I don’t entirely agree.

    Vanek is a hell of a player, and is unarguably the Sabres best non-goalie (I could easily rank Vanek and Miller, but I don’t want to go down that rabbit-hole), but he’s always going to be linked to 7/1/07. It’s why everyone hated Roy (PPG player playing on the top PP and PK, playing for 4m). It’s not rational, but it’s there.

    I would have been ok with trading Vanek if Parise where signed. It would make sense to me because sometimes players need a change of scenery, and Parise would have filled the role of top line LW. Trading him now would be a lot tougher because there are only a handful of wingers in the league that I think are on Van’s level. However, such a move would do more than make the Sabres “marginally better”, it would close the chapter on the post-lockout Sabres and allow many of us to move on.

    • cdr permalink
      08/03/12 11:07 AM

      The Change of Scenery argument applies to players who have become unproductive, which does not include Vanek. And it’s ridiculous to suggest that the team should get rid of its best players to placate some fans’ emotional wounds from 5 years ago. You know what will help people move on? Winning, which Vanek helps you do.

      • Truthbluth permalink
        08/07/12 7:46 AM

        You’re welcome to your opinion, but I disagree. The fans are relevant because that arena feels like a damn funeral. It has for five years. It has an affect on the game. Before 7/1/07, the arena was electric. They inspired us, and we inspired them. It is a symbiotic relationship. I’m not talking about placating wgr’s whiners, or their callers (see what I did there?), I’m talking about breathing life into the arena. You don’t agree, that’s fine, but you move on by winning, and you start winning by moving on.
        The other good argument for why it would be ok to trade Vanek is that he is a leadership void. He doesn’t rally the troops, even though he is the best player on the team. On occasion, he has done it all himself. But a leader pushes his team to be the best, and Vanek doesn’t do that. He’s a very serious person, but he isn’t a leader of men. I think this is has to do with team chemistry before and after 7/1/07. Part of the moving on argument is for the players. They need a true leader, and Vanek isn’t that. Again, I don’t want to suggest that he has to be traded, but if it were for equal value, I wouldn’t mind for the reasons I’ve given.

    • 08/03/12 12:05 PM

      In no way is “allowing fans to move on from 7/1/07″ a rational basis for making a trade. Our pent-up neurosis is just that, and should never have an impact on personnel decisions. And since when is Parise on the trading block? I feel like your response, Truthbluth, more than proves Alex’s point.

      • Truthbluth permalink
        08/07/12 7:48 AM

        The response to the 7/1/07 effect is detailed above. And as to the Parise comment? Read my post again.

      • 08/07/12 10:34 AM

        If fans still haven’t moved on from 7/1/07 they either need to be taken out back or forced to become a Leafs fan, whichever you deem worse.

  4. Sam permalink
    08/03/12 8:07 AM

    I don’t get why people want to ship tv… Put some better talent around him….

  5. Mike permalink
    08/03/12 6:59 PM

    Lies, damned lies, and statistics my friend. Time to close the book on Vanek.

  6. 08/03/12 7:35 PM

    Just because Vanek plays injured doesn’t mean he plays the game like some tough courageous hero. Every single professional athlete plays through injuries.

    Vanek doesn’t hit, which you need on the forecheck from your wingers. His agility is subpar, save a few flashes in his career (OT goal vs. Washington is one of them.)

    Yes, Vanek is a finisher. Put him in the right spot with the puck on his blade, and he’s going to score. But when you put him and Ryan head to head, it’s clear in my mind who I’d rather have.

    Bobby Ryan is 24, Thomas Vanek is 27.

    Vanek’s best scoring season came when he was on the 3rd line (81 points), Ryan’s best scoring season came when he was on the 1st line (71 points).

    Getzlaf had a terrible season this year, and Ryan’s goal scoring only decreased by 3.

    Vanek’s cap hit: 7.1 mil signed through 13-14. Ryan’s cap hit: 5.1 mil, signed through 14-15.

    Long story short, over the course of their careers, Ryan has produced .78 points per game, and Vanek has produced .81 points per game.

    I’m willing to sacrifice .03 points per game for a younger player who has a much more well rounded game at a lower cap hit who is signed for a longer period of time. So long as the trade doesn’t include some huge package that includes prospects and picks.

    That said, I prefer to hang onto Vanek. When I look at Chicago’s cup winning team from 2010, I think Hossa = Vanek. That means Buffalo still needs a Kane, Toews, Sharp, and Versteeg.

    I don’t know what package Buffalo could put together for Ryan that would appease Anaheim without Vanek, so I’ll let others speculate about that. But if it HAD to be Vanek, I’d consider making the following trade:

    Vanek + Luke Adam + 4th. That 4th round pick could potentially be regained by trading one of our many defensemen.

    This trade may make the Sabres only marginally better, but any move that can even make this team marginally better is worth making, considering that marginally better would have put this team into the Stanley Cup playoffs last season.

    2¢.

  7. Goomzy permalink
    08/07/12 10:22 AM

    This season will be to see if Hodgson can be Vaneks #1 center. This season will also allow Grigs and Girgs to develop and see what we have with them. The Sabres will be ready to contend after this year. At the end of the year. The centers will be looking like >
    Hodgson, Ennis, Grigs, Girgs. Then next year the centers will be Grigs, Hodgson, Ennis, Girgs. Can you say Stanley Cup 2014-2015. lmao.

    • brian jones permalink
      08/07/12 2:36 PM

      but Ennis is a winger…ask Lindy after about Game 5 or so, or his first turnover in our end…let the musical chairs resume!
      The Genius is back in the office!

      • Erasmus permalink
        08/07/12 5:48 PM

        Last last season Ennis demonstrated that he’s a natural center – and a good one. Playing wing invites too many clashes against the boards and he’s not that big.

  8. Erasmus permalink
    08/07/12 6:04 PM

    Having read the article, I still say: Trade Vanek. I agree he’s a talented player. No one would object to that. But he’s not the kind of player this team needs. He doesn’t hit. He is often injured. He goes into slumps regularly. But worst of all, he sulks…hard on himself at all times, this only makes things worse for him when he under performs. Thus, he is not a leader.

    Now I know we can’t have 18 leaders on this team. But right now we’re struggling to find just one. On most teams your best player is your leader – that’s the kind of guy that leads teams to titles.

    That stats indicate that Vanek is better than Parise. But I ask you: if you were to poll the GMs in the league, which player do you think they’d pick for their team? I’d say Parise 90% of the time. Why? The kid has what Vanek does not: grit and leadership ability.

    The good news is that we have a couple of ‘leaders-in-the-making’, namely Girgs and Foligno. Hopefully they will eventually replace our current ersatz leader, Pomminville.

    But as for Vanek, put him on the market and see what we can get. Not Ryan – he comes with his own set of problems. But someone who combines youth with future leadership skills. I could speculate as to who that could be, but it would be wise to simply see what teams would offer for him and go from there.

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  1. (FEATURED BLOG POST: Five reasons we should all put an end to Thomas Vanek trade talk | Buffalo Bills Blog Zone | Buffalo Bills Blog

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