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Vanek signs one-year contract with Red Wings

Forward had 56 points with Blue Jackets, Canucks last season @NHLdotcom

Thomas Vanek signed a one-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday.

Financial terms were not released.


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The 34-year-old forward had 56 points (24 goals, 32 assists) in 80 games with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Vancouver Canucks last season, including 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in 19 games after he was acquired by Columbus on Feb. 26. Vanek had two points (one goal, one assist) in six Stanley Cup Playoff games.

"I loved the culture of the organization, and the guys were great," Vanek said. "We tried to make it work last year, but it didn't happen, so we tried again this season. I had a few options, but I love it in Detroit.

"I've played with [Anthony] Mantha, [Dylan] Larkin and [Andreas Athanasiou] before, and I was able to help them. They are all very good players who just need time, and I think that's going to be true of [Michael] Rasmussen and [Filip] Zadina as well."

A two-time 40-goal scorer, Vanek, selected by the Buffalo Sabres with the No. 5 pick in the 2003 NHL Draft, has 753 points (357 goals, 396 assists) in 965 NHL games during 13 seasons with the Blue Jackets, Canucks, Florida Panthers, Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders and Sabres. He has 36 points (21 goals, 15 assists) in 63 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

"It's important that we have veterans around the kids and that our kids get an opportunity," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. "We believe we can make both things happen.

"The reason we're bringing back Thomas is that he's very popular in the room, and he can score goals, but he's also playmaker. He played really well on a line with (Frans) Nielsen and Athanasiou, and [Andreas] was scoring goals, so we know he can play with both older guys and young people and help them. ... We tried to sign Thomas last year, but we didn't have the [NHL salary] cap space, but we've always been interested in bringing him back." correspondent Dave Hogg contributed to this report

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