As ESPN and multiple outlets reported Monday, Vanek turned down a significant, long-term offer from the Islanders with the promise of free agency just months away. His agent, Steve Bartlett, told ESPNNewYork.com that Vanek, an impending unrestricted free agent, is "strongly leaning" toward testing the market July 1.
Vanek told Newsday on Tuesday that it was nothing against the Islanders.
"It's like a breakup; it's not you, it's me," Vanek told Newsday. "And it really is me wanting to explore this."
Vanek also said it was ultimately not about the money, either. According to multiple reports, the Islanders offered him a lucrative deal in the seven-year, $50 million range. Now that he has rejected that offer, Isles general manager Garth Snow likely will try to trade Vanek before the March 5 deadline.
"It's just me being a little selfish, I guess, and wanting to get to July 1 and seeing what's out there," Vanek told Newsday. "It has nothing to do with the team and where we are in the standings. I think this team has tremendous upside."
In fact, Vanek hasn't even ruled out re-signing with the Islanders in free agency, depending on what the market holds.
His agent told ESPNNewYork.com on Monday that though Vanek turned down the team's verbal offer, the door is not completely closed.
"It's not a definitive 'no,'" Bartlett said. "But it is a 'no' right now."