Will Thomas Vanek re-sign with the Isles?

January, 3, 2014
Jan 3
2:07
PM ET
As we close the book on the first half of the NHL season, we looked at the 10 big questions for the NHL in 2014.

One that's of interest to Islanders fans: Will Thomas Vanek re-sign with the Islanders?

Islanders general manager Garth Snow rolled the dice early in the season, shipping out Matt Moulson and a pair of high draft picks to Buffalo in exchange for Thomas Vanek. Snow landed a marquee talent in the two-time 40-goal scorer, but in doing so traded away one of his heart-and-soul leaders and top offensive weapons. Whether the deal goes down as a shrewd move or an epic blunder (count me among those betting on the latter) will likely hinge on whether Vanek, scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent, chooses to re-sign with the Islanders.

The 29-year-old Austrian would be a nice piece to play on the wing along superstar center John Tavares for years to come, but if he opts for greener pastures in free agency as many assume he will, Vanek will be remembered as nothing more than a high-priced rental.

Considering the Islanders' abysmal first half -- the team is mired in 15th place in the Eastern Conference standings with a woeful 13-21-7 record -- Snow is facing an uphill battle.
Katie Strang covers the NHL for ESPN.com. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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