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2017-18 Columbus Blue Jackets Player Review: Thomas Vanek

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Trade deadline acquisition Thomas Vanek was a key figure for Blue Jackets’ final stretch.

Washington Capitals v Columbus Blue Jackets - Game Three Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

“Shoot the puck, shoot the puck, shoot the puck!”

That was the sentiment carried out by John Tortorella regarding Thomas Vanek, and when Vanek shot the puck, good things happened.

During his brief tenure with the Columbus Blue Jackets, he had seven goals over the final 19 games of the regular season, including a hat-trick against the Oilers, part of a string of four different Jackets’ hat-tricks in late March.

Thomas Vanek 2017-18 Stats

2017-18 Games played Goals Assists Points Time on ice Penalty Minutes Corsi For (even strength)
2017-18 Games played Goals Assists Points Time on ice Penalty Minutes Corsi For (even strength)
Vancouver 61 17 24 41 13:58 28 45.60%
Columbus 19 7 8 15 14:28 8 52.40%
Total 80 24 32 56 14:05 35 47.30%

Brought in to help boost a league-worst power play from much of the season, the club was ninth in the league with the man-advantage (9th, 23.1%) in the Vanek-era from his first Blue Jackets game March 2 — Vanek made his team debut in Los Angeles — through the end of the season.

Hockey Viz

Going back further, to New Year’s Day, Columbus was 12th on the power-play up until the arrival of Vanek.

Hockey Viz
Hockey Viz

High Point

I don’t know what people expected out of the 34-year-old Vanek, let alone Ian Cole and the return of Mark Letestu in the final month and change of the regular season.

I, for one, did not consider a 10-game winning streak as much of a possibility or really imagine the acquisition of Vanek to translate into as much of an impact as he did. The 13-year veteran was having a relatively quiet-but-nice season in Vancouver (17 goals, 24 assists) in 61 games and while it took some time, the production started to come in a hurry for Vanek with Columbus.

Following a two-goal game against the Avalanche March 8 in Nationwide Arena, a game that concluded with an exciting overtime finish, that night was also his offensive coming out party, as he would score seven points over his next seven games, including points in five-straight.

Since his arrival, his seven goals were third on the team, five behind Cam Atkinson’s 12, and his 15 points were fifth. Essentially all of March and three regular-season April games. Vanek was third among Blue Jackets players in Corsi during even-strength play (52.36).

The below graphic illustrates the effectiveness of Thomas Vanek playing with his typical second linemates.

With and Without Thomas Vanek (All Strengths)

Player 1 Player 2 Player 3 GP TOI CF CA CF% FF FA FF% SF SA SF% GF GA GF% SCF SCA SCF% HDCF HDCA HDCF% HDGF HDGA HDGF% On-Ice SH% On-Ice SV% PDO Off. Zone Faceoffs Neu. Zone Faceoffs Def. Zone Faceoffs Off. Zone Faceoff %
Player 1 Player 2 Player 3 GP TOI CF CA CF% FF FA FF% SF SA SF% GF GA GF% SCF SCA SCF% HDCF HDCA HDCF% HDGF HDGA HDGF% On-Ice SH% On-Ice SV% PDO Off. Zone Faceoffs Neu. Zone Faceoffs Def. Zone Faceoffs Off. Zone Faceoff %
Thomas Vanek Boone Jenner Alexander Wennberg 17 155:22 157 139 53.04 121 95 56.02 92 68 57.5 17 4 80.95 79 68 53.74 38 24 61.29 10 1 90.91 18.48 94.12 1.126 77 60 28 73.33
Thomas Vanek Boone Jenner w/o Alexander Wennberg 19 54:00 50 37 57.47 38 26 59.38 26 10 72.22 2 1 66.67 26 17 60.47 8 7 53.33 1 1 50 7.69 90 0.977 13 10 10 56.52
Thomas Vanek w/o Boone Jenner Alexander Wennberg 17 19:04 23 19 54.76 16 13 55.17 11 8 57.89 0 1 0 9 10 47.37 2 7 22.22 0 1 0 0 87.5 0.875 5 3 5 50
Thomas Vanek w/o Boone Jenner w/o Alexander Wennberg 19 46:28 60 39 60.61 46 31 59.74 36 28 56.25 2 4 33.33 26 19 57.78 13 8 61.9 1 1 50 5.56 85.71 0.913 15 7 5 75
w/o Thomas Vanek Boone Jenner Alexander Wennberg 17 17:06 11 18 37.93 9 12 42.86 9 9 50 0 2 0 6 12 33.33 2 5 28.57 0 1 0 0 77.78 0.778 3 2 16 15.79
w/o Thomas Vanek Boone Jenner w/o Alexander Wennberg 19 57:27 42 72 36.84 29 48 37.66 21 39 35 2 4 33.33 20 34 37.04 10 15 40 1 2 33.33 9.52 89.74 0.993 8 11 24 25
w/o Thomas Vanek w/o Boone Jenner Alexander Wennberg 17 96:49 123 71 63.4 95 61 60.9 60 47 56.07 12 5 70.59 51 39 56.67 11 16 40.74 4 3 57.14 20 89.36 1.094 54 20 10 84.38
w/o Thomas Vanek w/o Boone Jenner w/o Alexander Wennberg 19 702:58 629 703 47.22 479 533 47.33 341 398 46.14 39 34 53.42 307 333 47.97 116 147 44.11 18 19 48.65 11.44 91.46 1.029 210 256 278 43.03

Low Point

Well, I guess, like for most, any low point would be considered in the playoffs. Especially since Vanek’s tenure in Columbus was short-lived for the duration of the regular season, and he had relatively strong success then. Remember? 15 points in 19 games.

But the playoff point production didn’t exactly translate over for Vanek, who had one power-play goal and an assist in the Game 1 win in Washington but was held off the scoresheet the rest of the series.

Who knows how things maybe go otherwise if Alexander Wennberg doesn’t miss time following his injury after the hit sustained against Tom Wilson in Game 1.

With and Without Thomas Vanek in the Playoffs (All Strengths)

Player 1 Player 2 Player 3 Player 4 GP TOI CF CA CF% FF FA FF% SF SA SF% GF GA GF% SCF SCA SCF% HDCF HDCA HDCF% HDGF HDGA HDGF% On-Ice SH% On-Ice SV% PDO Off. Zone Faceoffs Neu. Zone Faceoffs Def. Zone Faceoffs Off. Zone Faceoff %
Player 1 Player 2 Player 3 Player 4 GP TOI CF CA CF% FF FA FF% SF SA SF% GF GA GF% SCF SCA SCF% HDCF HDCA HDCF% HDGF HDGA HDGF% On-Ice SH% On-Ice SV% PDO Off. Zone Faceoffs Neu. Zone Faceoffs Def. Zone Faceoffs Off. Zone Faceoff %
Thomas Vanek Nick Foligno Boone Jenner Alexander Wennberg 3 0:00 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Thomas Vanek Nick Foligno Boone Jenner w/o Alexander Wennberg 6 34:00 38 37 50.67 30 32 48.39 21 20 51.22 0 2 0 12 18 40 4 8 33.33 0 0 - 0 90 0.9 18 10 5 78.26
Thomas Vanek Nick Foligno w/o Boone Jenner Alexander Wennberg 3 0:00 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Thomas Vanek Nick Foligno w/o Boone Jenner w/o Alexander Wennberg 6 7:24 13 5 72.22 8 3 72.73 3 2 60 0 0 - 7 2 77.78 3 0 100 0 0 - 0 100 1 0 2 0 -
Thomas Vanek w/o Nick Foligno Boone Jenner Alexander Wennberg 3 14:49 18 12 60 15 6 71.43 10 3 76.92 1 1 50 4 4 50 2 1 66.67 1 0 100 10 66.67 0.767 3 5 1 75
Thomas Vanek w/o Nick Foligno Boone Jenner w/o Alexander Wennberg 6 6:28 9 3 75 6 1 85.71 5 1 83.33 0 0 - 2 1 66.67 1 0 100 0 0 - 0 100 1 2 3 1 66.67
Thomas Vanek w/o Nick Foligno w/o Boone Jenner Alexander Wennberg 3 0:40 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 - 0 0 - 0 0 - 0 0 - - 100 1 0 0 0 -
Thomas Vanek w/o Nick Foligno w/o Boone Jenner w/o Alexander Wennberg 6 27:16 43 17 71.67 33 10 76.74 25 8 75.76 5 1 83.33 22 8 73.33 8 5 61.54 1 0 100 20 87.5 1.075 24 5 0 100
w/o Thomas Vanek Nick Foligno Boone Jenner Alexander Wennberg 3 2:12 1 0 100 0 0 0 0 0 - 0 0 - 1 0 100 0 0 - 0 0 - - - - 0 1 0 -
w/o Thomas Vanek Nick Foligno Boone Jenner w/o Alexander Wennberg 6 30:27 18 31 36.73 9 21 30 8 19 29.63 3 4 42.86 9 14 39.13 1 6 14.29 1 2 33.33 37.5 78.95 1.164 7 8 11 38.89
w/o Thomas Vanek Nick Foligno w/o Boone Jenner Alexander Wennberg 3 6:07 14 1 93.33 9 1 90 7 1 87.5 0 1 0 7 1 87.5 2 1 66.67 0 1 0 0 0 0 6 1 0 100
w/o Thomas Vanek Nick Foligno w/o Boone Jenner w/o Alexander Wennberg 6 44:45 39 55 41.49 30 41 42.25 18 30 37.5 2 2 50 14 25 35.9 7 6 53.85 2 0 100 11.11 93.33 1.044 7 13 22 24.14
w/o Thomas Vanek w/o Nick Foligno Boone Jenner Alexander Wennberg 3 5:19 7 6 53.85 6 4 60 4 2 66.67 1 1 50 4 1 80 3 0 100 1 0 100 25 50 0.75 0 0 3 0
w/o Thomas Vanek w/o Nick Foligno Boone Jenner w/o Alexander Wennberg 6 25:12 23 32 41.82 18 16 52.94 13 11 54.17 1 0 100 5 12 29.41 3 2 60 1 0 100 7.69 100 1.077 5 3 8 38.46
w/o Thomas Vanek w/o Nick Foligno w/o Boone Jenner Alexander Wennberg 3 22:58 20 25 44.44 15 18 45.45 10 16 38.46 0 3 0 5 13 27.78 1 6 14.29 0 0 - 0 81.25 0.813 7 9 4 63.64
w/o Thomas Vanek w/o Nick Foligno w/o Boone Jenner w/o Alexander Wennberg 6 165 197 45.58 114 144 44.19 72 109 39.78 5 9 35.71 89 91 49.44 27 46 36.99 1 4 20 6.94 91.74 0.987 53 79 84 38.69

All in all, it was a successful month and change for Vanek in Columbus.

While possibly the team makes the same late-season splash in the standings for their quest of successive playoff bids, a franchise-first, it was, among other aspects, Vanek’s offensive production and line-production (17 goals for) — Remember, he was acquired for Tyler Motte and Jussi Jokinen! — that helped translate the Blue Jackets into something of a high-octane offensive juggernaut, the element missing most of the season.

With Vanek on the club, dating from March 1 through the end of the regular season, April 8, the Blue Jackets scored an NHL-best 74 goals in all strengths (3.86 GF/60) and scored an NHL-best 60 goals (3.71 GF/60) while even-strength.

Poll

How would you grade Thomas Vanek’s time in Columbus?

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    A
    (76 votes)
  • 52%
    B
    (103 votes)
  • 8%
    C
    (17 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    F
    (0 votes)
197 votes total Vote Now