The Coyotes announced that they have bought out center Antoine Vermette. The announcement came less that two hours after it was reported that the team had placed him on unconditional waivers as first reported by AZSports’ Craig Morgan.
Vermette is able to be bought out as a result of the second buyout window that opened up after the Coyotes re-signed Michael Stone, who had filed for arbitration last month. In a separate tweet, Morgan notes that GM John Chayka did try to trade Vermette before proceeding with this move.
The veteran had a decent year with the Coyotes last season, posting 17 goals and 21 assists, matching his 38 point output from the previous season. His role with Arizona was reduced last season as his ice time dropped from 18:59 per game to 16:39 in 2015-16.
Presumably, the decision to let Vermette go was likely made to help free up a spot for some of their top prospects such as Dylan Strome and Christian Dvorak. The 34 year old has one season left on a two year pact signed last offseason worth $3.75MM per year.
From a salary cap perspective, the buyout costs Arizona $1.25MM in both salary and cap hit for both 2016-17 and 2017-18. That will free up $2.5MM on this season’s cap. The Coyotes are no stranger to having cap charges for players who aren’t playing for them as Pavel Datsyuk, Chris Pronger, and Mike Ribeiro are all on their cap for 2016-17 despite the fact that none of them will suit up for the team. Add in Vermette’s $1.25MM buyout charge and the Coyotes will have a cap charge of over $15.1MM for players who won’t actually play for them next year.