Vanek, 29, is in his last season of a seven-year deal that pays him $7.1 million. He was named co-captain this pre-season, he scored four goals and added five assists in their first 13 games.
Vanek has scored at least 20 goals in all eight of his NHL seasons. He moves to an Islanders team to likely play with an elite player in John Tavares.
“Thomas is an elite player in this league and he’ll help us now and in the future,” said Islanders general manager Garth Snow said.
Prior to the deal there were no talks between the Islanders and Vanek’s camp about a possible extension.
Vanek’s fantasy stock is definitely on-the-rise after this deal. Tavares played a huge role in Moulson being a 30 goal scorer from 2009-2012, so Vanek should thrive on the Islanders top-line.
The 29-year-old Moulson is set to become an unrestricted free agent at seasons end as he wraps up his three-year , $9.4 million contract. Moulson’s value probably takes a hit. However, Cody Hodgson is a 23-year-old, former 10th overall pick from 2008 who is coming into his own in the NHL. He currently leads the Sabres in points with nine in 13 games.
The Sabres lack talent up and down the lineup, but early chemistry with Hodgson will help Moulson remain as a legit fantasy option.
Now that Vanek is out of town, expect the Sabres to continue to move pieces out of Buffalo for future assets. Ryan Miller could find himself in a new uniform soon, although he has a no-trade clause.