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Thomas Vanek headed to Wild for three seasons, $19.5 million

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com

Thomas Vanek is returning to the State of Hockey. (Getty Images)
Thomas Vanek is returning to the State of Hockey. (Getty Images)

More NHL Offseason: NHL rumors | Rumor mill | Trade Tracker | 2014-15 preseason odds

In a move that surprised absolutely no one in hockey, Thomas Vanek signed a three-year deal with the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday.

The contract has a value of $19.5 million, or an annual average salary of $6.5 million for the Wild. That's a bit of a hometown discount for Minnesota, where he played college hockey and met his wife, at least when talking about the term.

Vanek was traded twice last season, first from Buffalo to the Islanders. The Isles wanted to keep him but Vanek rejected their reported seven-year deal for $50 million so the Islanders traded him to Montreal, where he finished out the season.

In the end to sign with the Minnesota he had to take a lower term and a bit of a lower price as well. Wild GM Chuck Fletcher was open about not wanting to sign any long-term deals and keep the flexibility for the roster down the line.

Despite a bit of a disappointing finish to the season with the Canadiens, Vanek is still one of the elite scorers available in free agency. He finished last season with 27 goals and 41 assists in 78 games and is consistenly scoring aaround 25 goals or more per season.

He joins a Wild team that is clearly on the upswing after reaching the second round of the playoffs last season. He should slot right into the hole left by Matt Moulson, who he was traded for in the first deal of their seasons.

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