2. He's playing hurt. Because of Point #1. But he keeps at it, so I'm wondering why his effort must be so terrible.
3. Vanek is overpaid but that really only matters for the salary cap. And since the free agent market is usually pretty bad, I wouldn't deal Vanek just to free up cap space.
4. Being paid "big time" money doesn't make you any more capable of being a "big time" player. If you double a guy's salary, he's not going to play twice as well. If you cut his pay in half, he's not going to be half the player. So Vanek signed a contract that he can't live up to. Oh well. I guess we'll have to live with having a player who is "very good" instead of "elite." It's not the worst problem in the world.
5. At this point last year, most Sabres fans thought Pominville was overpaid and useless.
On point #3, There's talk now of the salary cap actually going down in the next cba. There might be a reason to deal Vanek after all. Imagine how hard it becomes to move players with that salary after the cba.