Wild sign Vanek to three-year contract

Since the start of the 2005-06 season, Vanek has scored the eighth-most goals (277) in the NHL. Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Wild announced Tuesday that they have signed left wing Thomas Vanek to a three-year contract. The deal is worth $19.5 million, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Vanek, 30, is a native of Austria who played college hockey at the University of Minnesota, leading them to a national championship in 2003. He spent the first eight seasons of his NHL career with the Buffalo Sabres, twice topping 40 goals. In 78 games last season split between the Sabres, New York Islanders and Montreal Canadiens Vanek had 68 points (27 goals, 41 assists). He fell into a slump during the postseason recording just five goals and five assists in 17 games for Montreal.

Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher said Tuesday that he believes the Wild are acquiring an offensive threat in Vanek. “Thomas is an elite offensive talent who showed a strong desire to play in Minnesota,” Fletcher said. “We are excited to welcome him to our organization.”

Vanek will likely be on the Wild’s top line next season, as well as on the power-play unit with Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.