Minnesota nice: Wild, Vanek agree to 3-year deal


The Sports Network

St. Paul, MN (SportsNetwork.com) - Validating months of speculation, the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday agreed to terms on a three-year contract with free agent forward Thomas Vanek.

"Thomas is an elite offensive talent who showed a strong desire to play in Minnesota," Wild GM Chuck Fletcher said. "We are excited to welcome him to our organization."

Vanek participated in 78 regular-season games last year for Buffalo, the Islanders and Montreal, totaling 27 goals and 41 assists. He added five goals and five assists over 17 postseason contests to help the Canadiens reach the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2010.

The Austrian winger has logged 663 games of NHL experience, since breaking into the league with the Sabres during the 2005-06 season. A four-time 30-goal scorer, Vanek has picked up 277 scores and 279 assists as he heads into his 10th North American campaign.

Vanek, who was the Sabres' fifth-overall pick in the 2003 draft, spent two seasons starring for the University of Minnesota (2001-03) during which he collected 57 goals and 113 points in 83 games en route to helping the Golden Gophers win back-to-back national titles.

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