MONTREAL (AP) The Montreal Canadiens have acquired winger Thomas Vanek from the New York Islanders.
Montreal sent forward prospect Sebastien Collberg and a conditional 2014 second-round pick to the Islanders for Vanek and a conditional fifth-rounder on Wednesday. The draft picks will only change hands if Montreal makes the playoffs.
”When you think of a hockey Mecca, Montreal is it,” Vanek said on a conference call. ”I played many times for Buffalo in Montreal and it’s so electric. I’m super excited.”
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Vanek, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, becomes the Canadiens’ leading scorer with 53 points. The 30-year-old Austrian player is in the final season of a $50 million, seven-year contract.
It’s the second time Vanek has been traded this season. The Islanders gave up winger Matt Moulson along with first- and second-round picks to get Vanek from Buffalo in late October.
The 30-year-old would not speculate on whether he would seek a new contract to stay in Montreal after this season.
”It’s been a tough year for me and my family,” he said. ”I knew there was a chance we’d move again. Now it’s over and I’m a Montreal Canadien and I can just focus on hockey and helping that team win a lot of games.”
Vanek was picked fifth overall by Buffalo in 2003. He had his best season in 2006-07 with 43 goals and 84 points. In 645 career NHL games with the Islanders and Sabres, Vanek has totaled 271 goals and 270 assists.
Collberg was Montreal’s second-round pick in the 2012 draft.