Montreal Canadiens forward Thomas Vanek returned to the First Niagara Center in Buffalo on Sunday for the first time since the Sabres traded him to the New York Islanders back in October. The Sabres honored their former scoring leader with a video tribute during the first period.
The crowd showed its gratitude with a standing ovation while Vanek stood near the Habs' bench and saluted the fans.
Drafted fifth overall in 2003, Vanek played his first eight NHL seasons for Buffalo, scoring 254 goals and tallying 244 assists before being sent to the Islanders in exchange for forward Matt Moulson and two draft picks just 13 games in the 2013-14 season. Vanek's stay in New York was short: just 47 games before he was sent to the Canadiens by the March 5 trade deadline.