Three possible trade destinations for Thomas Vanek

Ian McLaren

Now that Thomas Vanek's decision to reject a "substantial" contract offer from the New York Islanders has been made public, it's all but certain that the 30-year old forward will be traded for the second time this season in advance of the NHL's March 5 trade deadline.

Here are three possible landing spots...

Los Angeles Kings

Despite ranking ninth in the NHL with 31.3 shots per game, the Los Angeles Kings come in second-to-last in goals per game with 2.25. Overall, they rank 26th in goals scored with 134 in 57 games, and have been largely successful this season by allowing only 122 goals against, good for second in the league.

Over the course of their past six games, the Kings have scored a grand total of two goals and have been shut out four times in that span. 

Currently sitting in third place in the Pacific Division, there's no doubt that Los Angeles has the ability to challenge for the Stanley Cup once again this season. Regardless of how good Jonathan Quick and the defense around him can be, the offense desperately needs to get going, and Vanek is without question the best weapon available to them as a pre-trade deadline acquisition.

Vancouver Canucks

The Canucks are holding down the second wild card spot in the Western Conference, three points back of the Kings for third in the Pacific. While they've managed to score a few more goals than their divisional foes (142 in 56 games), their minus-five goal differential suggests they can ill-afford to go cold on any given night.

With Mike Santorelli on the shelf for five-to-six months and Alex Burrows stuck on zero goals this season, the Sedins and Ryan Kesler continue to be relied upon to carry the load. The addition of Vanek would add a dynamic scorer to the mix, easing the burden on those three in the process.

The question is whether they'd be willing to part with a prospect like Hunter Shinkaruk or Bo Horvat in order to secure Vanek's services down the stretch.

St. Louis Blues

The Blues are as complete a team as you're going to find in the NHL. Skilled, defensively sound, and strong in net, St. Louis has a legitimate shot at raising the Stanley Cup this June.

What they lack, however, is an experienced game-breaker, a player who consistently has the ability to score on any given shift.

Vanek's 19 goals this season would put him in a tie with David Backes for second on the Blues in goals (behind Alexander Steen), and his 163 shots would put him right on top. His skills and abilities may be just what this team needs to get over the hump and end the season as champions.

The Islanders will more than likely be looking for a package of prospects and a first-round pick in exchange for Vanek. 

These appear to be the three teams that might have the greatest desire to pull the trigger sooner than later, while, as Michael Russo of the Star Tribune notes, the Minnesota Wild wait patiently for Vanek to become available as a free agent this summer.