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January 13, 2014 | 9:40pm ET
Vanek isn't worried about contract

Contract talks between the New York Islanders and Thomas Vanek aren't in the serious stage, and the star winger doesn't seem too concerned about it.

Vanek, 29, is in the final year of his contract and can become an unrestricted free agent this coming summer.

According to New York Newsday, contract discussions are just in the beginning phase, as both sides are waiting to see what direction the team goes in leading up to the March 5 trade deadline.

"I'm sure we'll talk, but I'm trying to stay out of it," Vanek told the paper. "Until something gets close, I need to focus on the games."

Vanek was acquired from the Buffalo Sabres earlier this season, and the Islanders would like to get him locked up to a long-term contract.

Initial speculation had Vanek eyeing the possibility of signing with the Minnesota Wild in the off-season, as his wife is from the area and that's where they spend most of their summers.

However, sources close to the athlete have told TFP that Vanek has enjoyed his time on Long Island, thus far, and likes playing alongside star center John Tavares.

"We had just one baby then, so things were different," Vanek said. "I would be lying if I said it doesn't come down to money and term. You've got to sell yourself for what you're worth, because you can't play forever. But at the same time, there are other concerns, like what's best for my family.

"We've been on the road a lot, but when we're home, the family has been with me [on Long Island]. We've taken the train to the city, things like that. It's a new place and it's nice. We loved Buffalo, too, even though everyone said we'd hate it. When you can call a place home, you start to find the good things about it."

With the Islanders moving to Brooklyn for the start of the 2015-16 season, it's believed the team will be highly motivated to keep, and add, star power to the lineup.

If Vanek is interested in re-signing with the club, the Isles will make it a priority to keep him.

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