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08-07-2013, 01:03 AM
La Cosa Nostra
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How good of a goal scorer IS Thomas Vanek?

Thomas Vanek is one of the most prolific goal scorers in the entire league, not to mention one of the best ever to play for the Buffalo Sabres.But how good is he?Per season, Vanek averages 35 goals a year.In order to average that every season, a player must have a career ppg of .427.Currently, there are 12 players in the league who average 35+ goals a season now that Ilya Kovalchuk has retired to the KHL.And 2 of the 12 on that list are over the age of 41,Teemu Selanne and Jaromir Jagr.So in essence, there are 10 current 35 goal scorers and 2 of the game's best ever ready to retire.Including Selanne and Jagr, here are the 35+ goal scorers ranked by career goals.

1.Jaromir Jagr-681 goals in 1391 games .49 gpg
2.Teemu Selanne-675 goals in 1387 games .49 gpg
3.Jarome Iginla-530 goals in 1232 games .43 gpg
4.Marian Hossa-434 goals in 1018 games .43 gpg
5.Alex Ovechkin-371 goals in 601 games .62 gpg
6.Dany Heatley-360 goals in 787 games .46 gpg
7.Marian Gaborik336 goals in 769 games .44 gpg
8.Rick Nash-310 goals in 718 games .43 gpg
9.THOMAS VANEK-250 goals in 585 games .43 gpg
10.Sidney Crosby-238 goals in 470 games .51 gpg
11.Evgeni Malkin-217 goals in 458 games .47 gpg
12.Steven Stamkos-208 goals in 373 games .56 gpg

Looking at this list, Vanek is in a group with very elite company.These are the best goal scorers in the game, and there aren't even enough 35+ goal scorers for half the league.Finding a replacement for Vanek's goal scoring is nearly impossible.In Darcy's 16 years at the helm, he has drafted 1 player to average 30 goals a season and that is Vanek.I don't think anyone in the system, including Armia and Grigorenko will be able to replace his goal scoring.

What makes Vanek's goal scoring record so impressive is in the ice time that he does it in...Here is the TOI/G for the 12 elite goal scorers:

1.Jaromir Jagr : 21:32/game
2.Teemu Selanne: 18:34/game
3.Jarome Iginla: 20:36/game
4.Marian Hossa: 18:57/game
5.Alex Ovechkin: 21:40/game
6.Dany Heatley: 20:35/game
7.Marian Gaborik: 18:28/game
8.Rick Nash: 18:58/game
9.Thomas Vanek: 16:46/game
10.Sidney Crosby: 21:05/game
11.Evgeni Malkin: 20:48/game
12.Steven Stamkos: 19:48/game

So out of the 12 35 goal scorers in the league, every single one of them EXCEPT for Vanek average at least 18:28 minutes per game.Vanek doesn't even average 17 minutes a game!Most of these players are getting over 2+ minutes a game more then Vanek.Over an 82 game season that's an extra 164 minutes on the ice, which comes out to 8 games played at 20 mins/game.No player does more with less then Vanek.I cannot fathom that the Sabres are honestly going to move Vanek.Regier,Pegula and Rolston should be flying out to his off-season home and beg him to re-sign.Give him another 7 year 50 mil contract and give him the C.Vanek IS elite and one of the very best players in the game.We all saw this past season when Thomas actually got more then 17+ mins a game and he was over a PPG and well over a 40 goal pace.I just think what could have been with Vanek if he played under a GOOD coach who actually gave him the premier ES+PP mins he deserved, along with some PK time which he has constantly showed that he doesn't look out of place on.

If Vanek has to be dealt, then the return needs to be a kings ransom.1 year to FA or not, he is a dynamic goal scorer and a great hockey player.

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