The 32-year-old veteran is up to three goals and three assists through four games to start the campaign, so a bounce-back season may be in the works following his 41-point showing in 2015-16. However, there are some early warning signs. Vanek only has six shots on net and is averaging just 13:03 of ice time per night, albeit with a healthy 2:53 of power-play time. He's well on his way to a 50-point campaign, but don't let your expectations get too high. Vanek's best offensive years are likely still behind him.
Operating on the third line, Vanek only skated for 12:53, but a whopping 4:11 of that amount took place with the man advantage. The Austrian winger is off to a hot start with five points in the first three games, leading all Detroit forwards -- just don't be surprised if he disappears on occasion, as he has the reputation of being an inconsistent player.
Vanek scored the first two goals (one on the power play) of Thursday's season opener against Tampa, but the Wings still got saddled with a 6-4 loss. He finished plus-1 with five shots on net.
A feared sniper for many years while with the Sabres, Vanek's late 20s and early 30s have seen him turn into a journeyman, as the Wings are his fourth franchise in as many years. However, he's going to see solid minutes -- including time on the man advantage -- in Detroit, where he isn't expected to carry the offensive load. That could lead to a bit of a bounce-back season, but even hitting 50 points would be a big win for the latter-day version of Vanek.
Vanek set up two goals in Saturday's preseason win over the Maple Leafs.
Vanek receives plenty of flak in fantasy circles for his enigmatic ways, and while that's fair criticism, one must realize that the Red Wings don't have too much to lose having put him on the books for one year at $2.6 million this season. The veteran from the Czech Republic has scored in roughly 39 percent of his games since entering the league 11 years ago, and he should benefit from the speed and craftiness habitually showcased by projected linemates Darren Helm and Riley Sheahan.
Vanek spent a part of the offseason rehabbing from broken and displaced ribs, but he's looked healthy early on in the World Cup of Hockey, having helped Team Europe to a 2-0 start. The