Fantasy Take: Vanek Back To Detroit

The Detroit Red Wings have signed left wing Thomas Vanek. According to Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press, it is a one-year contract worth $3 million.

The Red Wings get: A 34-year-old journeyman winger who has brought the goals for most of his career. Vanek bounced back to the 20-goal mark for the first time in three seasons in a 2017-18 campaign split between Vancouver and Columbus. We already have a recent sample of what he can produce in Detroit, as he recorded 38 points (15g-23a) in 48 games there in 2016-17.

Fantasy Players Impacted: Vanek can score goals wherever he plays, so the place should have little impact on his production. Age-related decline may eventually creep in, as he will turn 35 in January. Vanek was lined up with various players when with the Wings, but his two most frequent even-strength line combinations both included Frans Nielsen. The Danish center’s production dipped from 41 points in 2016-17 to 33 points in 2017-18, so there’s a chance that Nielsen could rebound slightly if the two are reunited.

Nielsen is more of a third-line center, so that’s where Vanek himself could slot in. With the Red Wings already well-stocked at the left wing position, Vanek’s addition could possibly push wingers like Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader, or Tyler Bertuzzi down the pecking order.

On Columbus, Sonny Milano could receive a few more minutes now that Vanek’s gone, assuming no other additions.

Fantasy players this helps, in order:

Sonny Milano

Frans Nielsen

Thomas Vanek

Fantasy players this hurts, in order:

Darren Helm

Tyler Bertuzzi

Justin Abdelkader