2013 Buffalo Sabres Report Cards: Thomas Vanek

Rick Stewart

The Buffalo Sabres 2013 season began with high expectations, and ended with nothing but empty Twitter fights atop a smoldering pile of ashes. Now that we've had some time to reflect, we're here to grade every player who wore the blue and gold this season, from Adam to Weber.


Thomas Vanek

#26 / Left Wing / Buffalo Sabres

6-2

205

Jan 19, 1984



G A P +/- PIM
2012 - Thomas Vanek 20 21 41 -1 20

Contract: Cap hit of $7.14 million through 2013-14. Unrestricted after that

Report Card in 2012: 5.5

Introduction: Unequivocally, Thomas Vanek is the Sabres best offensive player on the roster right now. He led the Sabres in goals and points in the shortened 2013 season and very briefly led the league in scoring at some point at the start of the 2013 season. But, Vanek also has a tendency to get very streaky throughout his career and that was the case as well in 2013. In the first 11 games of the season, Vanek was scoring at a torrid pace of 11 goals and 23 points. In the next 12 games after that, he cooled off considerably with only two goals and six points.

The question heading into the offseason is what to do with Thomas Vanek. He only has one year left on his current contract and has already said that he has no interest in being with the team if they are looking to rebuild over a few years. The owner and the general manager have already expressed interest in keeping him around for the long haul. If the Sabres were smart and looking to truly rebuild from the ground up, unloading Vanek around the draft would be the smartest thing to do.

Key Stat: Thomas Vanek has the highest on ice shooting percentages among players that played at least half of the games for the Sabres this season at 10.68%. He also has one of the lowest on-ice save percentages at 90.1%.

Thumbs Up: Thomas Vanek is arguably the Sabres best asset right now. If the team were looking to build the offense, getting good players to complement Vanek's style. In Vanek's career, he has 250 goals and 488 points over 585 games in eight seasons. He's broken the 40 goal mark twice and has seemed to have the potential to break 50.

Thumbs Down: It's a shame that the Sabres couldn't do more with Vanek. It seems that his potential was always greater than the result. Vanek sits sixth on the all-time Sabres goal scoring list, just two goals behind Craig Ramsey. It does seem that if things were a little bit different, he could be well over Danny Gare's total of 267 and heading toward Andreychuk.

Voting: Using the good old grade school system of A, B, C, D, F, with A representing a great season, C an average season, and F a very poor season, grade Thomas Vanek on his performance this year according to the expectations you had for him.

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