RED WINGS SIGN FREE AGENTS THOMAS VANEK AND JONATHAN BERNIER
The Detroit Red Wings today signed right wing Thomas Vanek to a one-year contract and goaltender Jonathan Bernier to a three-year contract.
Vanek, 34, rejoins the Red Wings after playing 48 games for Detroit during the 2016-17 campaign, producing 38 points (15-23-38) and 16 penalty minutes before being traded to Florida in exchange for defenseman Dylan McIlrath and a third-round pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, which the Red Wings used to select defenseman Kasper Kotkansalo. Vanek spent the 2017-18 campaign between the Vancouver Canucks and Columbus Blue Jackets, totaling 56 points (24-32-56) and 36 penalty minutes in 80 games, including 15 points (7-8-15) and a plus-nine rating in just 19 games with Columbus following his trade from Vancouver. He added two points (1-1-2) in six postseason games with the Blue Jackets. The 2017-18 season marked the 11th time since debuting in 2005-06 that Vanek has scored at least 20 goals, which includes a pair of 40-or-more goal seasons with the Buffalo Sabres in 2006-07 and 2008-09.
A veteran of 13 seasons and 965 NHL games, Vanek has amassed 753 points (357-396-753) with the Sabres, New York Islanders, Montreal Canadiens, Minnesota Wild, Red Wings, Panthers, Canucks and Blue Jackets. His 357 career goals rank ninth in the NHL since he came into the league in 2005-06, behind only Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Eric Staal, Patrick Marleau, Rick Nash, Jarome Iginla, Evgeni Malkin and Corey Perry. The Vienna, Austria, native was originally drafted in the first round (fifth overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by Buffalo and spent two seasons at the University of Minnesota before turning pro, totaling 113 points (57-56-113) in 83 games played from 2002-04. Vanek helped the Golden Gophers win the NCAA National Championship as a freshman in 2003 and won back-to-back Western Collegiate Hockey Association titles in 2003 and 2004. He turned pro in 2004-05 with the American Hockey League’s Rochester Americans and was a member of the AHL All-Rookie Team after posting 68 points (42-26-68) in 74 games.
Bernier, 29, spent the 2017-18 season with the Colorado Avalanche, posting a 2.85 goals-against average, 0.914 save percentage and two shutouts alongside a 19-13-3 record in 37 games. He also appeared in four postseason games during the Avalanche’s first-round series loss to the Nashville Predators, sporting a 1-3 record, 3.87 goals-against average and 0.887 save percentage. In 288 NHL games since the 2007-08 season, Bernier owns a 128-108-28 record, 2.68 goals-against average, 0.913 save percentage and 16 shutouts between the Los Angeles Kings, Toronto Maple Leafs, Anaheim Ducks and Avalanche. His best statistical campaign came when he posted a 0.922 save percentage – tying for eighth in the NHL – alongside a career-high 26 wins in 55 games for the Maple Leafs in 2013-14. He also posted a 1.88 goals-against average in 14 games with the Kings during the shortened 2012-13 campaign, finishing second among qualifying netminders in that category.
Originally drafted by Los Angeles in the first round (11th overall) of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Bernier became a Stanley Cup champion with the Kings in 2012 after appearing in 16 regular-season games and serving as the team’s backup goaltender during its first-ever championship run. The 6-foot, 185-pound native of Laval, Quebec, also spent parts of four seasons in the American Hockey League with the Manchester Monarchs (2007-10) and Toronto Marlies (2015-16). In 119 AHL games, he posted a 57-46-12 record, 2.16 goals-against average, 0.927 save percentage and 17 shutouts. He was honored with the Aldege (Baz) Bastien Memorial Award in 2009-10 after leading the league in save percentage (0.936) and shutouts (9) while making the AHL First-All-Star Team. Prior to his professional career, Bernier played four seasons for the Lewiston MAINEiacs in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, owning a 78-63-3 record, 2.72 goals-against average, 0.908 save percentage and four shutouts in 148 games. He was named the most-valuable player of the QMJHL playoffs after helping Lewiston to a championship in 2006-07. Internationally, Bernier captured gold with Canada at the 2008 IIHF World Junior Championship and also represented his country at the 2006 IIHF World Under-18 Championship and the 2011 IIHF World Championship.
Thomas Vanek, Left Wing
Born Jan 19 1984 — Vienna, Austria
Height 6.02 — Weight 214 — Shoots R
Selected by Buffalo Sabres round 1 #5 overall 2003 NHL Entry Draft
Jonathan Bernier, Goalie
Born Aug 7 1988 — Laval, PQ
Height 6.00 — Weight 184 — Shoots L
Selected by Los Angeles Kings round 1 #11 overall 2006 NHL Entry Draft
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