2011-2012 Buffalo Sabres Report Cards: Thomas Vanek

BUFFALO, NY - NOVEMBER 23: Thomas Vanek #26 and Drew Stafford #21 of the Buffalo Sabres celebrate Vanek's goal in the first period against the Boston Bruins at First Niagara Center on November 23, 2011 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

With the 2011-12 Buffalo Sabres ending in disappointment and after a few weeks for us to gather our thoughts, it's time for us to issue our report cards on the season. Over the next few weeks, we'll grade every player that wore a Buffalo Sabres uniform in 2011 and 2012, from Luke Adam to Mike Weber.


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2011 - Thomas Vanek 78 26 35 61 -6 52 10 0 5 204

Introduction: This was a year to forget for many Buffalo Sabres players and Thomas Vanek is no exception. Vanek cooled off after a hot start to the season and he finished with his worst offensive season since his rookie year 2004-2005. (Editor's Note: Vanek had only 53 points in 2009-2010, but he scored 28 goals that season).

Vanek was a topic of discussion on locker clean out day after rumors surfaced of a rift between himself and Head Coach Lindy Ruff. He took the high rode during his final meeting with the media but other players talked about dealing with the coach.

Interesting Fact: According to the Buffalo Sabres post season media guide, Vanek is one of only six players that have scored 25 or more goals in every season since the lockout. The other players on that list are Jarome Iginla, Ilya Kovalchuk, Rick Nash, Alexander Ovechkin and Martin St. Louis.

Thumbs up: Vanek was second on the team in goals and points, behind only Jason Pominville who scored 30 goals and had 73 points. Vanek also led the team with 10 power play goals this season.

Thumbs Down: Vanek has always been known as a streaky scorer, that was never more evident than it was in December and January. Vanek had a season high seven game point streak from December 16 - December 30 and he followed that up with a goal and an assist in his next 13 games played.

Injuries could have been an issue is his rough stretch of games because he missed three consecutive games following that 13 game stretch.

Voting: On a scale of one to ten, one being the lowest and ten being the highest, grade Thomas Vanek on his season according to the expectations you had for him. If he met them, give him a five or a six. If he eclipsed them, aim for a seven or beyond. If he failed to meet them, give him a lower number relating to how poorly he missed the target.

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