Vanek was a one-year rental when he was brought in via trade this past season and was probably a near lock to be exposed for selection by the Golden Knights. The 33-year-old has expressed his interest in remaining with the Panthers, who have just over $14 million in cap space and could certainly fit the veteran into their lineup. While the winger recorded just two goals and eight helpers with Florida, he was able to notch 38 points in 48 contests with Detroit earlier in the year, which muddies the waters for any team discussing whether to sign the unrestricted free agent.
Vanek is a pending unrestricted free agent. He posted two goals and 10 points in 20 games with the club after coming over in a deal from the Red Wings before the trade deadline. The veteran will be on a team somewhere in 2017-18, but his days as a fantasy mainstay are clearly in the rearview mirror.
Vanek dished out a career-best four assists -- including one on the power play -- in Tuesday's 7-2 win over Toronto.
Vanek had produced just one point in his first five games with the Panthers, but he finally flashed the skills that enticed Florida to part with young blueliner Dylan McIlrath and a conditional third-rounder for him at the trade deadline here. While the 33-year-old winger is far from fleet of foot at this point, his world-class hands have Vanek over the 40-point mark for the 12th consecutive season since he cracked the NHL in 2005-06.
The first noteworthy deal of deadline day sees the Red Wings get a seemingly disappointing return for the 33-year-old winger, who's had a resurgent season in Detroit with 38 points in 48 games. It's not clear where Vanek might fit into the Panthers' forward mix, but he could conceivably overtake Reilly Smith for second-line minutes at right wing.
Vanek is in the lineup for Tuesday's game against the Canucks, Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press reports.
Vanek's name was swirling around in the NHL trade winds leading up to the deadline, and there was speculation he might be held out of Tuesday's game as a precaution to keep the valuable trade chip healthy. However, he's in there, so perhaps the Austrian veteran is staying put in Motown.