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Red Wings add free agent Thomas Vanek

by Kyle Kujawa / Detroit Red Wings

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today agreed to terms with free agent left wing Thomas Vanek on a one-year contract.

Vanek, 32, has racked up 649 points (316-333-649) in 817 games over his 11-year NHL career with the Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders, Montreal Canadiens and Minnesota Wild. He has reached the 20-goal plateau in 10 of his 11 seasons in the league, hitting 30 goals on four occasions and scoring 40-or-more times in 2006-07 and 2008-09. Since breaking into the league in 2005-06, Vanek’s 316 goals rank seventh in the league, and he’s one of just 12 players to score more than 300 goals since that season. In 2015-16, he ranked among Minnesota’s leaders with 18 goals (4th), 23 assists (T6th), 41 points (7th), six power-play goals (3rd), five game-winning goals (2nd) and 146 shots on goal (8th). The 2009 NHL All-Star has also picked up 34 points (20-14-34) in 63 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Originally drafted by the first round (fifth overall) by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, the 6-foot-2, 214-lb., forward spent two seasons at the University of Minnesota before turning pro, collecting 113 points (57-56-113) in 83 games played from 2002-04. He helped Minnesota capture the NCAA National Championship as a freshman in 2003 and win back-to-back Western Collegiate Hockey Association titles in 2003 and 2004. He was also voted most-valuable player in the 2003 NCAA Tournament and was honored as the 2003 WCHA Rookie of the Year and a 2004 NCAA West Second-Team All-American. Vanek also captured a spot on the AHL All-Rookie Team with the Rochester Americans in 2004-05, registering 68 points (42-26-68) in 74 games played. Additionally, he led the United States Hockey League in goals and points prior to his collegiate career, accumulating 91 points (46-45-91) in 53 games in 2001-02

The Vienna, Austria, native will skate for Team Europe at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey in September, alongside fellow free agent addition Frans Nielsen. Vanek captained Austria at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and has picked up 17 points (7-10-17) in 19 games while representing his country at the 2004, 2009 and 2013 IIHF World Championships.

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