Photo - Bruce Bennett (Getty Images)

By: Aj Mansour |

St. Paul, MN - Free agency in the National Hockey League kicked off late Tuesday morning and the Minnesota Wild took little time to jump into the pool and start having fun.

Early reports are saying that LW Thomas Vanek has signed a 3-year deal with the Minnesota Wild.

Originally from Austria, Vanek is returning "home" to Minnesota in a sense. A standout forward for the Minnesota Gophers for two seasons, he was a member of the 2003 NCAA National Championship being named the tournaments Most Outstanding Player

In the pros, Vanek (30 years old) bounced around the past year having been traded to the New York Islanders for 47 games last season and then traded again to Montreal for the final 18 games of the regular season.

A skilled left wing, Vanek finished a crazy 2013-2014 season with 68 points (27G/41A). Prior to that, Thomas spent the previous eight seasons with the Sabres where he established himself as a dangerous offensive threat.