Vulgar Opinions: It’s Time We Admit Thomas Vanek Is An Elite NHL Player
I will keep this short and to the point. Thomas Vanek is an elite player in the NHL. He hasn’t always been there, but he’s there now, and it hasn’t exactly been recent. The guy has all the characteristics you could want. He can score any type of goal (and does – he’s fifth in goals per icetime since the lockout), is capable of playing any position on the power play, is decent in all three zones (albeit not great defensively), and has shown the intangibles we all said he’s lacked for far longer than anyone has given him credit. Toughness, hustle, drive, leadership. Thomas Vanek has them.
I can picture the whining now. Thomas Vanek doesn’t carry the team (actually he is), and doesn’t make the players around him better. Yes, because Jason Pominville is definitely an 86 point a year guy all on his own and Jochen Hecht’s 26 goal pace is nothing out of the ordinary. You have to give credit where credit is due…this guy is a force to be reckoned with.