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Exit Interviews: Thomas Vanek

Thomas Vanek goes one-on-one with Chuck Fletcher and tries not to pass the puck.. errrr buck.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Come on in, Thomas. Quickly now, show some hustle! Sit down. No. Stand. Sitting is for sloths.

Well Thomas, your first year in a Wild sweater was sure..... something. We had hoped you would come to town and infuse this defensive-minded lineup with some offense. At first glance, your final point tally of 21 goals and 31 assists seems relatively underwhelming. However, when we dig a little deeper into your offensive numbers, we see that you averaged only 16:12 of playing time per game, your lowest average time on ice since your rookie season.  And yet, despite a constant carousel of linemates you managed to finish second on the team in Points/60 minutes (all situations), behind only Zach Parise. After looking at those numbers, maybe we should cut you some slack. After all, this was your first year with new teammates, and playing under a very demanding -sometimes offensively restrictive- system. The problem was that no matter how impressive your P/60 may have been, it was nearly entirely whitewashed by your atrocious possession numbers.

Expectations for Next Year

There's simply no avoiding it; your all around game needs to improve. You play on a team with the All-American-effort-king in Zach Parise, and a defense-first coach, so your days of being let off the hook for poor defensive efforts are over. If you're going to earn the trust that is necessary to gain more ice time to pad those end of season offensive stats from Yeo, you need to show at least some semblance of ability to play with the puck on the defensive side of center.

Offseason Homework

1) Simplify decisions on exit passes from the zone; think more singles and doubles instead of always swinging for the fences. Also, work on your board play. You need to realize that you can't win every battle with finesse and a quick stick. Sometimes you need to get a little greasy along the wall in your own end. You've got a big frame, it's time you started using it to your advantage all over the ice.

2) Shoot 1000 pucks a day. No, make it 5000. We love the creativity you can bring in the offensive zone but this team already has too many guys who choose to defer with the puck. You are a proven pure goal-scorer; get back to that shooting mindset.

3) Put your stamp on the power-play. It's clear that nobody in this organization has any idea what to do with the man advantage. For some reason Ryan Suter and his 1.3 shooting percentage just didn't add up to the offense we were looking for on the power-play. You ended up leading the way for the regulars on the power-play with 4.08 P/60, so we will continue to look to you for production. Maybe mix in some one-timer practice with Dumba (who will be playing with the first unit) between your 10000 shots a day. Yes, 10000.