Despite Liking Long Island, Elite Winger Apparently Determined To Test Free Agency

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Garth Snow is about to feel the heat.

Thomas Vanek has rejected a substantial offer from the Islanders and could soon be traded. Snow, the team’s general manager, is now fielding offers for the 30-year-old forward, Newsday reported Monday.

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Snow rolled the dice back in October when he traded popular and productive Matt Moulson, a 2014 first round draft pick and a 2015 second round pick for Vanek, who is in the final year of a contract that pays him slightly more than $7.1 million annually.

The trade was met with mixed reactions from Islanders fans, with many happy the team was proactive in trying to get an elite talent to play on the top line with superstar center John Tavares. Others weren’t as understanding, claiming the Islanders should have used their youthful assets and other chips to trade for real positions of need, namely a goaltender or a defenseman.

Though Vanek has shined with the Islanders, registering 38 points in 41 games, the team has been a disaster defensively, allowing an Eastern Conference-high 191 goals, which is just three behind NHL leader Edmonton.

The Islanders’ offer was believed to be for around $50 million for seven years, Newsday reported, which on the surface seems extremely aggressive, but Vanek, who will captain Team Austria during the Olympic tournament in Sochi, likely wants to experience unrestricted free agency for the first time and therefore is not under the same pressure as the Islanders. Vanek will almost certainly have many suitors come this summer, regardless of where he ends up by March 5 trade deadline or earlier.

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Because Vanek is currently under contract with the Islanders, they have the ability to offer him more years than any other team, according to the collective bargaining agreement, which may open the door to them countering with a better offer. New York can put an eight-year offer on the table, while every other team can go no higher than seven years.

But a trade will end that advantage and likely any hope of the Islanders re-signing the former 40-goal scorer over the summer, despite the fact that Vanek has said repeatedly he really likes the organization and Long Island, and would considering re-signing during free agency.

The Islanders are winless in their last five games (0-4-1) and are 10 points out of both third place in the Metropolitan Division and the second wild card in the conference with 25 games to play.

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