Welcome back to another edition of Throwback Thursday!
This week in 2007 (July 6), the Edmonton Oilers signed Thomas Vanek to a mammoth seven-year, $50-million offer sheet.
It was a remarkable time and led to Kevin Lowe nearly fighting Brian Burke in a barn. The decision to sign Vanek came weeks after the Oilers lost in the Stanley Cup finals and six days after they traded Chris Pronger.
While Buffalo ended up matching the offer, opting to keep Vanek over the ability to have four first-round picks. And such, Vanek had great success in Buffalo.
Over the length of those seven years, Vanek scored 209 goals and 424 points in 500 games. His best season came in 2010-11 when he scored 32 goals and 73 points in 80 games.
His contract became the fifth-highest salary in the NHL at the time behind Zdeno Chara, Nicklas Lindstrom, Brad Richards and Jaromir Jagr, and ahead of the likes of Jarome Iginla, Vincent Lecavalier, Joe Sakic, Roberto Luongo and Scott Niedermayer.
Vanek had just come off what would be his best season over his career in 2006-07 scoring 43 goals and 84 points in 82 games with another 10 points in 16 playoff games. So while there may have been an argument to be made, Vanek was never the impact player that any of those other high contract players were.
So in hindsight, it’s probably for the best that the Sabres matched the offer. Here’s the four players that Edmonton drafted with the picks they would’ve given up: Sam Gagner in 2007, Magnus Paajarvi in 2009 and Taylor Hall in 2010. The 2008 pick was used in a later offer sheet for Dustin Penner.
On Twitter: @zjlaing