Ever since a certain forward announced his retirement, it became quite clear that the Devils were going to have to find a way to replace his substantial production. Whether that was done internally (other players picking up the slack) or externally (through signing UFA's or trades), something had to be done to allow this team to be competitive. One of the names that has picked up steam from outside of the organization has been Thomas Vanek of the Buffalo Sabres. It's no secret that GM Darcy Regier has his sights set on unloading both Vanek and goalie Ryan Miller, as the Sabres try to rebuild. Additionally, Vanek is one of the few pieces on the market that has produced at a level close to Kovalchuk. He's a 2-time 40 goal scorer and a weapon on the PP.
Puck Daddy's Greg Wyshynski posted about the connection yesterday, and it makes a lot of sense from both sides. The question then becomes: What would it take to get it done? One of the big hangups will be that Vanek will be a UFA at the end of this season, and surely won't be looking for a pay cut. I would be hesitant to do such a deal without any draft picks exchanged being conditional on him resigning here. I would almost certainly insist that Buffalo takes some of his salary on in the deal. I would be comfortable with a deal like this:
F Thomas Vanek
Conditional 2015 3rd round pick (Devils receive pick if Vanek doesn't re-sign in NJ)
F Adam Henrique (Josefson, if they'd take him, instead)
Conditional 2015 1st round pick (Sabres receive pick if Vanek re-signs in NJ)
What say ye, Devils Nation? Should the Devils pursue Vanek? And if so, what would you be willing to part with for him?