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How good of a goal scorer IS Thomas Vanek?

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Old
08-07-2013, 02:03 AM
  #1
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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08-07-2013, 02:23 AM
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I had a major epiphany about a month and a half ago, about his play and about the approach I want taken with him, etc...it was basically your post. Scary.

but I've also leaned more and more heavily towards the "NOBODY....should be given a contract longer than five years" (with a handful of rare exceptions of skill/age combo 6)...drafting well, developing well, and being able to adapt to situations that call for extensions or what have you.

A four year deal would be sweet.

_____________________________________

You'll also have a contingent of posters who think that Vanek's style of play (his prolific scoring in the slot, at the crease, in tight spaces) is conducive to a long term extension. Some would argue that he takes a heavy punishment and would be a bit risky.

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08-07-2013, 02:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jBuds View Post
I had a major epiphany about a month and a half ago, about his play and about the approach I want taken with him, etc...it was basically your post. Scary.

but I've also leaned more and more heavily towards the "NOBODY....should be given a contract longer than five years" (with a handful of rare exceptions of skill/age combo 6)...drafting well, developing well, and being able to adapt to situations that call for extensions or what have you.

A four year deal would be sweet.

_____________________________________

You'll also have a contingent of posters who think that Vanek's style of play (his prolific scoring in the slot, at the crease, in tight spaces) is conducive to a long term extension. Some would argue that he takes a heavy punishment and would be a bit risky.
I agree long term deals are a risk but I think it would take another long term big $ deal to get him to stay.As for his play style, yes he does get his bumps and bruises but over his 8 year career he has played in 94% of the Sabres games in that time frame.He is able to play through those minor things and still contribute.I know this team is a couple years away but it isn't like Vanek is in his mid 30's, he's only 29!In 3 years when this team should be ready to compete, he will only be 32 and most likely still a 35 goal,70 point scorer.All cup contending teams need that top line goal scorer who can put the puck in the net often.It will just be way too difficult to find an elite goal scorer like him, especially since it took a top 5 pick in the best draft of all time to even get Vanek.

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08-07-2013, 02:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Layne Staley View Post
I agree long term deals are a risk but I think it would take another long term big $ deal to get him to stay.As for his play style, yes he does get his bumps and bruises but over his 8 year career he has played in 94% of the Sabres games in that time frame.He is able to play through those minor things and still contribute.I know this team is a couple years away but it isn't like Vanek is in his mid 30's, he's only 29!In 3 years when this team should be ready to compete, he will only be 32 and most likely still a 35 goal,70 point scorer.All cup contending teams need that top line goal scorer who can put the puck in the net often.It will just be way too difficult to find an elite goal scorer like him, especially since it took a top 5 pick in the best draft of all time to even get Vanek.
I don't really disagree with any of this, to a point.

Then there's the looming notion of "well, we'd sign him, but he doesn't want to be here"... that part may be out of our control, and we'd be better off trying to acquire assets for him meanwhile.

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08-07-2013, 02:34 AM
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Ice time in this context can potentially be misleading, mainly because not all ice time is equal. Specifically SH (where scoring is much less likely) vs ES vs PP. Vanek might still be low or at the bottom when the time is broken down, but it would give a clearer picture--a player who plays significant SH time should be expected to score during those minutes. (A quick glance at the list and it's probably only a few players who would be affected).

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08-07-2013, 03:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Layne Staley View Post
I agree long term deals are a risk but I think it would take another long term big $ deal to get him to stay.As for his play style, yes he does get his bumps and bruises but over his 8 year career he has played in 94% of the Sabres games in that time frame.He is able to play through those minor things and still contribute.I know this team is a couple years away but it isn't like Vanek is in his mid 30's, he's only 29!In 3 years when this team should be ready to compete, he will only be 32 and most likely still a 35 goal,70 point scorer.All cup contending teams need that top line goal scorer who can put the puck in the net often.It will just be way too difficult to find an elite goal scorer like him, especially since it took a top 5 pick in the best draft of all time to even get Vanek.
I dont have a problem keeping Vanek...but i would only want to sign him to a 5 yr extension. The issue is will he want to resign here? They may want to wait during the season and see how the team is doing. Then decide in January if a contract can be done---if not then he is traded. Can't risk having him walk for nothing.

The only players i would sign to an 8 yr contract are those coming off ELC's or 2 yr bridge contracts so they will likely be 21-26 yrs old.

I would not sign a player who was 28-30 to an 8 yr contract. there is just too much risk.

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08-07-2013, 07:19 AM
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Vanek is a great player, but just to keep your feet on the ground I would remind you that career per game averages aren't really comparable when the careers have such drastically different lengths. Guys like Jagr, Selanne, Iginla, Hossa etc. have had their gpg averages decreased by playing through different eras, injuries and natural declines. e.g. Selanne's first 8 seasons (564games, comparable to Vanek now) had a gpg average of 0.6135.

And history shows us that a player's peak goal scoring years usually happen in the early parts of their careers, which means that a long contract for vanek could definetely be risky.

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08-07-2013, 09:42 AM
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I feel like you've posted this a thousand times in other threads since the season ended.

Everyone knows Vanek is a great goalscorer. But he's streaky and is the focal point of a failed core in Buffalo.

This lockout-shortened season is indicative of the kind of scorer Vanek is. He finished with 20 goals in 38 games. Of those 20 goals, 11 came in the team's first 11 games of the season. Which means he scored 9 over the course of the next 27, including 3 in 13 following his hot start. This has happened nearly every season he's been in the NHL.

The difference between the majority of the scorers you listed and Vanek is that they're prolific goal scorers from game no. 1 to game no. 82 (er, 48). Sure, they slump. But they're still dangerous for 60 minutes. Vanek puts up fancy totals by the end of the season, but during the thick of it he's typically injured, playing hurt or simply MIA.

I think he should be shipped out at the deadline.

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08-07-2013, 09:43 AM
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too bad Alexander Semin just missed the cutoff with 34 goals per season (.409 gpg)... imagine replacing Vanek's name in the OP, with Semin... and how silly it would sound. "Semin is a GREAT player!".... lol

...wait for it.... here comes the "linemates" argument....


There are all kinds of factors that are protecting Vanek's #s is this comparison

1. His "real" rookie year, was in the AHL (because of the lockout), where as most players have to endure a more difficult rookie year in the NHL (and therefore impacting their career #s... low rookie scoring)

2. Vanek got to play in the rip roaring post lockout PP galore NHL

3. How many other players on the list got to play their first 2 seasons on a "3rd line" behind Briere/Drury?

4. Vanek is also benefitting from a lockout shortened season in which is hot start is protected from his usual drop off...

5. Putting him on a list that makes it seem like he's in the same ballpark as Selanne, Jagr, Iginla is ridiculous. If you wanted to be taken seriously, you'd compare Vanek's prime years against those guys prime seasons... and the comparison would be laughable.

6. there are many young players who havent hit their prime yet, and haven't collected the necessary 200 goals to qualify for the list

A cursory glance at the stats tells a feel good story for the pimpers... but the reality is much different.

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08-07-2013, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jame View Post
too bad Alexander Semin just missed the cutoff with 34 goals per season (.409 gpg)... imagine replacing Vanek's name in the OP, with Semin... and how silly it would sound. "Semin is a GREAT player!".... lol

...wait for it.... here comes the "linemates" argument....


There are all kinds of factors that are protecting Vanek's #s is this comparison

1. His "real" rookie year, was in the AHL (because of the lockout), where as most players have to endure a more difficult rookie year in the NHL (and therefore impacting their career #s... low rookie scoring)

2. Vanek got to play in the rip roaring post lockout PP galore NHL

3. How many other players on the list got to play their first 2 seasons on a "3rd line" behind Briere/Drury?

4. Vanek is also benefitting from a lockout shortened season in which is hot start is protected from his usual drop off...

5. Putting him on a list that makes it seem like he's in the same ballpark as Selanne, Jagr, Iginla is ridiculous. If you wanted to be taken seriously, you'd compare Vanek's prime years against those guys prime seasons... and the comparison would be laughable.

6. there are many young players who havent hit their prime yet, and haven't collected the necessary 200 goals to qualify for the list

A cursory glance at the stats tells a feel good story for the pimpers... but the reality is much different.
Actually there is no 200 goal cutoff for this list. The only requirement was a .427 career gpg and that they have played a mere 100 games to knock out some riff raff like Alex Chiasson. None of what you listed means ANYTHING because nearly Everyone of these players listed got to play in the "rip roaring" post lockout NHL. Mad that Bobby Ryan isn't on the list?

Oh and when Vanek got to "play behind Briere and Drury" for a whopping 2 seasons he averaged 34 goals a season and wouldn't have even qualified. So he actually scored more without them then with them. Anything else you want me to debunk? The best one is your drivel about the lockout shortened season and that he would have dropped off, but wait I thought the reason for that wasnt a shortened year but that he got to play with Cody Hodgson?


Last edited by La Cosa Nostra: 08-07-2013 at 10:54 AM.
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08-07-2013, 11:43 AM
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Honestly, it's hard to say.

Jame's right in that his 2007 40 goal season is a number-skewing outlier, but his 40 in 2009 came getting 17 minutes a night and playing with Derek Roy, and his TOI figures and linemate quality (especially before Pominville) are among the lowest on any list of first line forwards. His typical role on the PP is also highly dependent on the players around him compared to most goal scorers, but he usually creates a minimum of 5 goals a season he doesn't get credit for due to screens that don't touch him, or being collapsed on (because he's Thomas Vanek in front of the net and that's where the puck just went) while the rebound goes to the second man. These roles make it difficult to pinpoint an objective ranking for the guy. He's definitely a very good to great goal scorer and a virtual lock for 60 points regardless of linemates, and plays adequate defense for a first line scoring forward (especially coming back through the neutral zone), but he's also four years removed from potting 40, and two years removed from his best/longest offensive season, with three of his last four (and 4/5) derailed to various degrees by injuries.

I wish I could see a parallel universe where Vanek was drafted by any team that would give it's only top 5 pick in a decade the keys to the bus before halfway through his sixth season.

If I had to pick, it's borderline top 10 definite top 20, with the possibility to be top 5 with the right PP scheme or linemates.

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08-07-2013, 12:19 PM
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Over the last 3 seasons he's 16th in goals with the 4th lowest GP. He's a brilliant goal scorer who, when on, can't be stopped. He's the kind of player that can carry you offensively. I just wish he had a more complete game for the times when he's hitting crossbars all night. Sure I'd resign him but at this point I don't think we can. Unless we are 1st in the division around the Olympic break then I think he'd be willing.

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08-07-2013, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Layne Staley View Post
Actually there is no 200 goal cutoff for this list. The only requirement was a .427 career gpg and that they have played a mere 100 games to knock out some riff raff like Alex Chiasson. None of what you listed means ANYTHING because nearly Everyone of these players listed got to play in the "rip roaring" post lockout NHL. Mad that Bobby Ryan isn't on the list?
quick, who has more 30 goal seasons in the last 5 years?

total goals last 5 seasons:
146 to 142




Quote:
Oh and when Vanek got to "play behind Briere and Drury" for a whopping 2 seasons he averaged 34 goals a season and wouldn't have even qualified. So he actually scored more without them then with them. Anything else you want me to debunk?
You clearly can't conceptualize the point. The point is Vanek had easy minutes in his 1st two seasons, that allowed him to have very good goal production. Where as many other young players are forced into bigger roles immediately, and don't have the luxury of playing in the situation Vanek enjoyed

Take Corey Perry for instance... if you take out his rookie and sophmore years, he has a better GPG average than Vanek. He doesn't make your list, because the methodology used to come up with your list is for kindergarteners.

Quote:
The best one is your drivel about the lockout shortened season and that he would have dropped off, but wait I thought the reason for that wasnt a shortened year but that he got to play with Cody Hodgson?
Vanek's production would've dropped off... it always does
Hodgson's play was a factor in Vanek's production... denying the centers role is hopelessly dense

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08-07-2013, 03:42 PM
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Semin is a great player, I don't see the point.

e: And there are many arguments to be made for Ryan over Vanek but I don't think "superior goal scorer" is one of them given the context of each's performance.

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08-07-2013, 04:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jame View Post
quick, who has more 30 goal seasons in the last 5 years?

total goals last 5 seasons:
146 to 142


You clearly can't conceptualize the point. The point is Vanek had easy minutes in his 1st two seasons, that allowed him to have very good goal production. Where as many other young players are forced into bigger roles immediately, and don't have the luxury of playing in the situation Vanek enjoyed
Most ELC players get easy minutes. Go and look at the data.

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08-07-2013, 05:18 PM
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Most ELC players get easy minutes. Go and look at the data.


Show me "the data"

Most ELC players don't get to play behind a dominant #1 offensive line, and elite shutdown line, getting juicy minutes at a time when league scoring exploded under tighter rules, more open play, and more PP time...

There's a reason why Vanek's sophmore year is by far his best production (84 pts)... the following 5 seasons he was short of that total by:
-20
-20
-31
-11
-23

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08-07-2013, 07:33 PM
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I'd keep Vanek here IF he wants to stay. Not at anything substantially over 6+ though. Then you take the best trade. He's going to deteriorate faster than most. He's not Dave Andreychuk.

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08-07-2013, 10:01 PM
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Honestly, it's hard to say.

Jame's right in that his 2007 40 goal season is a number-skewing outlier, but his 40 in 2009 came getting 17 minutes a night and playing with Derek Roy, and his TOI figures and linemate quality (especially before Pominville) are among the lowest on any list of first line forwards. His typical role on the PP is also highly dependent on the players around him compared to most goal scorers, but he usually creates a minimum of 5 goals a season he doesn't get credit for due to screens that don't touch him, or being collapsed on (because he's Thomas Vanek in front of the net and that's where the puck just went) while the rebound goes to the second man. These roles make it difficult to pinpoint an objective ranking for the guy. He's definitely a very good to great goal scorer and a virtual lock for 60 points regardless of linemates, and plays adequate defense for a first line scoring forward (especially coming back through the neutral zone), but he's also four years removed from potting 40, and two years removed from his best/longest offensive season, with three of his last four (and 4/5) derailed to various degrees by injuries.

I wish I could see a parallel universe where Vanek was drafted by any team that would give it's only top 5 pick in a decade the keys to the bus before halfway through his sixth season.


If I had to pick, it's borderline top 10 definite top 20, with the possibility to be top 5 with the right PP scheme or linemates.
I'll second that. Wonder what his career would look like if he had the quality and quantity of ice time and quality of linemates that many of the league's other star scorers seem to.

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