Monday, February 11, 2013
Is anyone better than Vanek right now?
By Luke Lapinski
Thomas Vanek's performance early on this season has been nothing short of amazing. Through 12 games, he's posted 11 goals and 12 assists for an eye-popping 23 points. If he keeps that pace up, he'll total 96 points this year. In a normal, 82-game season, he'd have 157 points.
Of course, it's unrealistic that he - or anyone else -- can keep producing at that clip over a whole season in today's NHL. But it is worth noting that a dozen games makes up 25 percent of the schedule this year. His impressive start is now stretching towards the middle of the 2012-13 campaign. And it's not like Vanek is a flash in the pan. He's tallied 40 or more goals twice in his career, 30 or more two other times and has never registered less than 25 goals in a season.
To that end, it's no wonder why Tom Awad of Hockey Prospectus has the 29-year old Austrian ranked No. 1 in his latest installment of player rankings. Vanek has a GVT (goals versus threshold) of 8.9, and it's worth noting that only seven of his 23 points have come on the power play. In other words, he's getting chances to contribute with the man advantage, but he's not overly reliant on it.