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Have the Canucks changed their mind on Vanek?

He sure has changed his game...

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34-year old pending free agent forward Thomas Vanek is second in scoring on the Vancouver Canucks with 13 goals and 32 points and has become a leader in the dressing room and a mentor from young rookie sensation Brock Boeser.

Vanek signed a one-year, $2 million deal this offseason, and doesn’t have any trade protection.

The veteran has expected to be dealt by the trade deadline since the day he signed the contract.

When I signed the contract it was for one year, but no movement, no-trades (restrictions), nothing,” Vanek said to Sportsnet. “So reality is if you’re out of it by the deadline and there’s interest, I’m sure Jim will do what’s best for this organization. From that standpoint, I can’t really worry … because it’s out of my hands. 

“I don’t really have a decision to make. It’s nothing I haven’t been through before.

But could the Canucks have changed their mind about where he fits on the team? 

The Red Wings dealt him to the Panthers at the trade deadline last season, and Detroit pried a third-round draft pick from Florida.

However, the risk of having signed Vanek in the summer is surely paying off, and GM Jim Benning would be foolish to pass upon it.

Right? 

I got traded last year and it sucks,” Vanek added. “But I got moved one year to Montreal (by the New York Islanders at the deadline in 2014) and we made a great playoff run. It was awesome. That’s the reason I play still – to win. I’ve made my money, so I don’t play for that anymore. I want to win the Cup.

“The deadline can go either way. You can go somewhere where it works out good, or you can go like last year … where it was a little bit dysfunctional when I got to Florida, and it ended up hurting me. I had a good year in Detroit, and then my last 20 games it kind of goes down the drain. That’s the downside of getting moved.”