Three months of Thomas Vanek was much less than the Islanders were hoping for. And yet, that’s looking more and more like a reality.
Newsday reported Monday the left winger has turned down a contract extension and plans to test the free agent market once the season is over. The deal was reportedly in the similar range as Vanek’s current seven-year, $50 million deal expiring in June.
The Islanders traded for Vanek from Buffalo before the Oct. 29 game against the Rangers with the idea he would provide an instant offensive spark — and be re-signed long term. He has played well, but the Islanders have not developed on last season’s playoff appearance when they fought the No. 1-seed Penguins to a seven-game loss in the opening round.
Vanek has 15 goals and 23 assists in 41 games with New York.
“He’s strongly leaning toward not making a decision before July 1,” Vanek’s agent told ESPN New York.
The Isles are now stuck in the position of shopping the forward in order to not cost themselves Matt Moulsen and a first-round pick for nothing.
The Islanders are 15-26 in the 41 games Vanek has played in New York, including a 12-game losing streak which began just a week after the trade. The team is currently on a five-game losing streak.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.