Detroit Red Wings: Thomas Vanek nets goal in 1000th career game

DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 06: Thomas Vanek #26 of the Detroit Red Wings is joined by his father Stan, mother Jarmila, wife Ashley and sons Blake, Luka and Kade as they watch high lites of his 1,000 career NHL games during pre-game ceremonies before playing the Washington Capitals at Little Caesars Arena on January 6, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 06: Thomas Vanek #26 of the Detroit Red Wings is joined by his father Stan, mother Jarmila, wife Ashley and sons Blake, Luka and Kade as they watch high lites of his 1,000 career NHL games during pre-game ceremonies before playing the Washington Capitals at Little Caesars Arena on January 6, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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Shortly after Trevor Daley accomplished the feat, Thomas Vanek followed suit.  Vanek played in his 1000th career NHL game over the weekend while the Detroit Red Wings hosted the Nashville Predators.

Thomas Vanek was able to score in his 1000th career NHL game on Friday evening against the Nashville Predators in a Detroit Red Wings 4-3 OT victory.  Vanek’s family was able to be in attendance to see this great accomplishment in person.

During the game, the Fox Sports Detroit crew scanned the crowd and keyed in on Vanek’s wife and kids in a suit taking in the action.   It was a pretty awesome sight to see Thomas’ boys dawning his Detroit Red Wings number 26 jersey.  Vanek mentioned how special it was to have everyone in attendance.

Although it has been a “down” season for Vanek, yet he’s trying to right the ship.  He could be a crucial part of this Detroit Red Wings offense and power-play moving forward.  Both have struggled of late and really for the last couple of seasons.

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Thomas Vanek is the first Austrian born player to reach 1000 NHL games played.  To this point in his career, the two-time 40 goal sniper has 770 points (364 goals, 406 assists) in 1001 career games.

The team all chipped in and bought Trevor Daley a sea-doo for his accomplishment.  They once again splurged for their teammate and bought Vanek a vacation for he and his family to spend at Disneyland.

In an article published by Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News Jeff Blashill talks about the accomplishment;

"“It’s awesome,” said Blashill of the milestone. “You play 1,000 games in the NHL, there’s a reason why it’s a big measuring stick. It’s a hard thing to get. You have to have longevity in your career. There are a lot of guys in this league that are good for periods of time, but to be that good to be able to play 1,000 games is awesome.”“Vanny is one of the smartest players in the NHL and has been for a long time,” Blashill said. “He’s a great person. His kids have been around here the last couple of days, which is nice for him, to have family in town. I feel for him during the year when is family isn’t here, it’s hard on him. To have his kids around, and you see how well behaved and respectful they are, they come from a great, great family."

The power-play was a top 15 unit in the league for the first quarter of the season.  It was cold when forward Anthony Mantha got hurt but Mantha being sidelined indeed didn’t help.  The former fifth overall selection (2003) of the Buffalo Sabres is struggling to find his confidence.  He has 7 goals and 10 assists in 36 games this season for the Wings.  5 of those 17 points have been on the PP.

His minus -11 rating doesn’t sit well with head coach Jeff Blashill.  He’s played up and down the lineup.  He’s been banished to the fourth line but has been currently playing on the second line with Mantha and Nielsen.  He’s scored a pair of goals over his last five games, maybe a sign he is starting to figure things out.  It wasn’t too long ago Vanek mentioned to the press he was losing sleep over his struggling play.

The hope was Vanek would be on a 20-25 goal pace and be a desirable trade chip the Detroit Red Wings could dangle to contending teams looking to add around the trade deadline.  Unfortunately, it hasn’t gone that way thus far this season, but I still have hope Vanek can salvage some mid-season success.

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Hopefully, Thomas can show enough over the next month or so and still draw a mid-round draft choice from a playoff team looking to add a veteran third line winger.  If not he will play out this season with the Detroit Red Wings and absolutely not be a candidate to be resigned in the summer.