Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Minnesota hockey fans surely have good memories of Thomas Vanek, since he was a key cog in the Golden Gophers’ 2003 national title run as a freshman. He spent the majority of his NHL career with the Buffalo Sabres, the team that drafted him fifth overall in 2003, before being traded twice during the 2013-14 season. Vanek circled his way back to Minnesota, signing with the Wild prior to the 2014-15 season.
Vanek had a disappointing first season with the Wild, with just 21 goals and 31 assists in 80 games played. Better things are hopefully in store for the 2015-16 season, and Vanek has offered an early highlight.
Midway through the first period against the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night, Vanek gave the Wild a 2-0 lead with the 300th goal of his NHL career. He has a point in all three games so far (two goals and one assist), which is a good early sign that Vanek will rebound this season and give the Wild a much-needed pure scorer/power play sniper.
Among active NHL goal scorers Vanek is 13th right now, which puts him between Sidney Crosby (302 goals) and Henrik Zetterberg (298 goals). That is pretty good company, and teammate Zach Parise is tied for 19th among active goal scorers with 279 career goals.
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