Thomas Vanek isn't the dominant force we expected him to be. (Update: sick/hurt?)
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03-28-2014, 11:51 AM
Join Date: Jan 2014
The truth about Vanek:
Not unlike Pacioretty, he's a sniper, more than a prototypical Power Forward.
That said, it doesn't mean Vanek is a peripheral player at all. Unlike a Ryder, for example, he doesn't float around, necessarily, just looking for the easy open space from which to shoot from.
Vanek will USE his size to park himself in dirty areas once he has an opening to step into them. He also uses his size well to protect the puck when he has it.
However, Vanek will not end the night with 6 or more checks. Nor will he be seen muscling past an opponent on an open rush to cut to the net. Not that he wouldn't do it. Vanek's skating simply isn't his strength and he is unable to outdistance a mobile D to be able to cut past him, using his body as leverage.
Vanek, while a deadly sniper, is also a much underrated playmaker with great vision on the ice. In that respect, he brings more to the table than a Pacioretty, offensively. To Pacioretty's credit, the LW is much faster on his skates than Vanek and sounder defensively (in large part, because of that speed).
Perhaps not ideally but, Desharnais, Pacioretty and Vanek do complement each other. It is far from what some might expect. It's not just a case of two floaters surrounding Desharnais, offering themselves as targets.
Pacioretty and Vanek both can shoot and it is their primary weapon. However, Pacioretty can apply pressure by driving the puck at high speed into the offensive zone, unlike Vanek.
Vanek, unlike Pacioretty, will find open space closer in to the opposing G and will be more willing to camp into an open spot in the dirty areas.
Vanek also supports the playmaking element, beyond relying just on Desharnais, on that line. This can lead to Pacioretty getting passes from both Desharnais and Vanek and can lead to Desharnais being somewhat more of a shooting threat as well.
It allows for positioning at different levels in the offensive zone; Vanek closer in to the crease for cross-crease passes, one-timers and dirty rebounds, Pacioretty nearer the F/O circle for one-timers with traffic in front of the net and Desharnais, all over the place for rebounds or as an alternative target for a one-timer.
Complementary players, really. Smart enough, also, and not greedy by nature. They will look to create offense in any way they can.
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