Feb 10, 2012; Buffalo, NY, USA; Dallas Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) and Buffalo Sabres left wing Thomas Vanek (26) in play at the First Niagara Center. Sabres beat the Stars 3-2 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-US PRESSWIRE

Give Thomas Vanek A Break

When I look at Thomas Vanek’s career so far I feel he’s gotten a bad rap. Whether you’re a fan or just hearing someone else talk about him there’s always going to be those comments: he’s lazy, he doesn’t back check and also he gives up on some plays. In the last two seasons I think Thomas has really elevated his game and has played good hockey. Even before that he has always managed to produce points to help his team. When looking at his career stats I was rather surprised to see what he’s done so far (7yrs, 547gp, 230g, 217a, 447p). What I wanted to do is get three guys that I believe are looked at higher than Vanek that also has had a top tier center and show their stats in comparison.

The first guy I picked is Jeff Carter. Being traded twice in as many seasons he has been lucky enough to have a center to feed him the puck. I understand he didn’t have much in Columbus but he did not stay there long enough and I believe didn’t want to play there from the beginning. In both Philadelphia and LA he had been playing with Mike Richards. Although I don’t think he’s a great center he would probably be number one on the Sabres if he were to come here. His career stats so far are (7yrs, 516gp, 202g, 175a, 377p).

The next guy I chose was Patrick Sharp. Playing in Chicago he has really come on in the last few seasons. Skating with the likes of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane he has always had the chance to put up big numbers. I think he plays a good game for the Hawks but I’d wonder how he play if those centers weren’t options for him to play with? Would he keep putting up points? Would he have been an All Star? His career stats are (9yrs, 567gp, 193g, 192a, 385p).

The last guy I picked was Corey Perry. If anyone was asked that wasn’t a Sabres or Ducks fan to pick one these guys Perry I bet would be picked at least 80% of the time. He I believe is seen as a top tier player in this league. He as well as the other two players has had a center to play with him in his career. Ryan Getzlaf has played with Perry and I think he has benefitted from it. Now I’m not going to take anything away from his 50 goal season because it’s a great accomplishment but take that away and what has he done. Sure he puts up numbers but there are many others guys that do the same. His career stats are (7yrs, 530gp, 205g, 224a, 429p).

After looking at those players and there stats it makes me wonder what if Vanek had a number one center? Could his goal number have reached 300? Hopefully soon the Sabres will get a center for him to play with and then we’ll see how he evolves.

Tags: Buffalo Sabres Corey Perry Jeff Carter Patrick Sharp Thomas Vanek

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