Coyotes add Vermette
The Phoenix Coyotes have acquired forward Antoine Vermette from the Columbus Blue Jackets, in exchange for a 2012 2nd round pick, 2013 5th round pick and goaltender Curtis McElhinney, Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reports.
The Coyotes (30-21-9, 69 pts) who are surging in the standings with an 8-1-1 record in their last 10 games, make a move for now and the future.
Vermette, 29, has three years remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $3.75 million per season.
The 6-foot-1, 200-pound centerman is having a down year with 8 goals, 27 points and a minus-17 rating this season. Vermette is just two years removed from a 27 goal – 65 point season in 2009-2010. Last season, Vermette had 19 goals and 47 points.
Vermette is effective on faceoffs with a 56.3 faceoff percentage and he gives Phoenix the ability to play him in a second or third line role.
A solid two-way player, Vermette should be a factor on an already strong Coyotes penalty kill unit that ranks 8th in the NHL.
The Coyotes though rank 18th in goals per game at 2.57 and taking on Vermette’s contract shows they have confidence that he will return to the offensive player he was in the past.
Phoenix is currently 7th in the Western Conference with 69 points.
For the Blue Jackets they begin their fire sale as the team is also expected to move Jeff Carter, Samuel Pahlsson and possibly Rick Nash.
Goaltender Curtis McElhinney who is coming over in the Vermette deal, is regarded as a depth goaltender in the AHL and is currently injured due to abdominal surgery. He is 10-13-0 on the season for the Portland Pirates.
The return for Vermette is questionable from the standpoint that he wasn’t a rental player and the Blue Jackets got a low return for him.