13. Thomas Vanek

13. Thomas Vanek

One of the first real hockey stars from Austria, Thomas Vanek, made history as the first Austrian to be taken in the top five when the Buffalo Sabres chose him with the 5th Overall Pick in the 2003 Draft.

Vanek had 48 Points in his rookie year (2005-06), and arguably his career peaked early as his sophomore season showed career-highs in Goals (43), Assists (41), Points (84), and Plus/Minus (47), which led the NHL.  Vanek would be named a Second Team All-Star that year, the first and only time he received this accolade.

Vanek still was a productive player for Buffalo, accruing back-to-back 64 Point years (2007-08 & 2008-09) with his 20 Power Play Goals in 2008-09 leading the NHL.  The Austrian Wing went to the All-Star Game that year.  He had three more full years with the Sabres, scoring 53, 73, and 61 Points, respectively. 

Early in the 2013-14 campaign, Vanek left Buffalo when he was traded to the New York Islanders.  With the Sabres, Vanek was three Points shy of 500.

The Bullet Points

  • Position: Left Wing
  • Acquired: Selected in the 1st Round, 5th Overall in the NHL Draft 6/21/03.
  • Departed: Traded to the New York Islanders for Matt Moulson and New York 2015 1st Round (which was later traded to Ottawa and would be Colin White) and 2nd Round Pick (Brendan Guhie) 10/27/13.
  • Games Played: 598
  • Notable Statistics:

    254 Goals
    243 Assists 
    497 Points 
    233 PIM 
    .83 PPG 
    +29 Plus/Minus 
    62.7 Point Shares 
    20 Points in 36 Playoff Games

  • Major Accolades and Awards:

    Second Team All-Star (2007)
    All-Star Game (2009)
    Highest Plus/Minus (2006-07)
    Most Power Play Goals (2008-09)

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