Vanek with the Austrian National Team at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.
The NHL trade deadline came to pass once again on Wednesday with several Gopher-related transactions and news including Thomas Vanek being dealt to Montreal, Hudson Fasching's NHL rights moving to Buffalo and Ryan Stoa making his season debut with the Washington Capitals.
Now on his third team for the 2013-14 season, Vanek has 53 points (21 goals, 32 assists) in 60 games with the Islanders and Sabres this season. The forward, who will be an unrestricted free agent after this season, has recorded 541 points (271 goals, 270 assists) and 396 penalty minutes in 645 NHL career games with the Sabres and Islanders.
"Knowing the history behind the team, I was very happy to learn the news," admitted Vanek, who was acquired alongside a conditional fifth round pick in the 2014 draft in exchange for prospect Sebastian Collberg and a conditional second round pick in 2014. "I've played in Montreal so often when I was with the Sabres and I've always loved coming here. The atmosphere at the Bell Centre is electric."
A native of Baden, near Vienna, Vanek was the Sabres' first round selection, fifth overall, at the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.
Vanek will join the team on Thursday in Phoenix.
Vanek's trade was the second related to the Gophers on Wednesday with Fasching's rights moving from Los Angeles to Buffalo earlier in the day.
Fasching leads all Big Ten rookies with 12 goals this season and ranks second in points scored by conference newcomers (one off the Big Ten lead). Fasching was originally drafted by Los Angeles in the fourth round (118th overall) of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.
Meanwhile, Stoa made his season debut in the NHL last night as the Washington Capitals fell to Philadelphia 6-4.
The Bloomington, Minn., native and former First Team All-American was selected 34th overall by the Colorado Avalanche in the second round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft and has appeared in 37 career NHL games with Colorado, registering seven points (four goals, three assists) and 20 penalty minutes.
Stoa is the 16th former Gopher to skate in the NHL this season joining Keith Ballard (Minnesota), Nick Bjugstad (Florida), Alex Goligoski (Dallas), Erik Haula (Minnesota), Erik Johnson (Colorado), Phil Kessel (Toronto), Nick Leddy (Chicago), Jordan Leopold (St. Louis), Paul Martin (Pittsburgh), Aaron Ness (New York Islanders), Kyle Okposo (New York Islanders), Nate Schmidt (Washington), Jordan Schroeder (Vancouver), Thomas Vanek (Montreal Canadiens) and Blake Wheeler (Winnipeg).