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Thomas Vanek: 2008-2009 Report Card

It's time to put the finishing touches on the 2008-2009 season for the Buffalo Sabres. Here is a complete report card of every single player that played a significant amount of time with the Sabres this season. Thanks to Japers Rink and Mile High Hockey for the inspiration.

Thomas Vanek

#26 / Left Wing / Buffalo Sabres



Jan 19, 1984

2008 - Thomas Vanek 73 40 24 64 -1 44 20 2 4 2 211 19.0

Key Stat: Vanek had 211 shots-on-goal this season and was third on the team. His shooting percentage was a remarkable 19%, good for first on the team and fourth in the entire NHL.

Interesting Stat: There is no question that Vanek is the best goal scorer on the entire team and possibly one of the best in the league. Despite being a top offensive player he was only 1-for-6 in shootout attempts.

Fun Fact: Vanek was named the Frozen Four Most Outstanding Player in the 2003 NCAA Frozen Four National Championship. Vanek scored the game winning overtime goal against Michigan in the Semi-Final and the game winning goal in the final against New Hampshire. The tournament was held at the HSBC Arena in Buffalo.

Line Combos:

  1. Derek Roy - Drew Stafford (1111 shifts - 11 points)
  2. Jochen Hecht - Jason Pominville (571 shifts - 4 points)
  3. Tim Connolly - Drew Stafford (420 shifts - 5 points)
  4. Tim Connolly - Jason Pominville (336 shifts - 6 points)
  5. Ales Kotalik - Derek Roy (312 shifts - 2 points)

The Good: Offense, Offense, Offense. Thomas Vanek is by far the best pure goal scorer on the Buffalo Sabres. He led the team with a total of 40 goals and added 24 assists for a total of 64 points. He was only third on the team with 211 shots but led with a 19% shooting percentage. Anyone else think he could easily score 50 goals if he shot the puck more?

Vanek is at his best when the Sabres on the power play. How often do we here about special teams? Vanek makes the Sabres that much better with the man advantage. He had 20 goals and 6 assists for 26 points on the power play and he had 18 goals and 18 assists when at even strength.

Vanek scored 1.15 goals/60 minutes on the ice and the Sabres scored 3.19 goals/60 minutes on the ice. The 3.19 goals for/60 minutes on the ice is almost a full goal(0.80) more than when he is not on the ice.

Most players put up better stats on home ice but for Vanek it is the opposite. He had 17 goals and 12 assists for 29 points at home but had 23 goals and 12 assists for 35 points on the road. He played 37 road games and 36 home games so the number of games was not a factor.

The Bad: For all the offense that Vanek brings, he is a liability in the defensive zone. The Sabres score 3.19 goals/60 minutes Vanek is on the ice but they allow the same 3.19 goals/60 minutes on ice. Vanek finished the season as a minus one despite having excellent offensive stats.

For a big guy Vanek plays a soft game. He isn't afraid to take a hit but seems reluctant to deliver hits. He had only 34 hits which was 16th on the team.

2008-2009 Salary: $8,000,000

2009-2010 Status: Signed for $6,400,000

Vote: It's time to grade Vanek for his play in Buffalo during the 2008-2009 season. Every player has expectations so vote based on those expectations. If a player played to their potential they should receive a "C" if they exceeded expectations they would receive a "B" or an "A".

Discuss: Does Vanek have the potential to be a 50 goal scorer? What aspect of the game would you like to see Vanek improve? Knowing what we know now...would you agree that Darcy Regier made the right decision to match the Edmonton Oilers offer sheet two seasons ago?

Up Next: Final Grades