As part of the team’s widespread youth movement, the Arizona Coyotes jettisoned Antoine Vermette, buying out the final season of the veteran pivot’s contract during the summer despite a solid 38-point showing in 2015-16. Several teams were interested in securing Vermette’s services but the 13-year pro elected to ink a two-year pact with the Ducks in the hopes he could add some scoring punch to the team’s bottom-six. While the $1.75MM annual investment is minimal, given the Ducks tight salary cap situation and with the need to re-sign Hampus Lindholm and Rickard Rakell as restricted free agents, some felt that money was best utilized elsewhere. But Eric Stephens of The Orange County Register argues the signing is paying off just fine for Anaheim.
Vermette has tallied two goals and seven points in 12 contests while averaging 15:46 of ice time per game. He’s assumed the third line pivot position behind Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler but has the ability to slide up the lineup when needed. Always known for his abilities in the faceoff circle, Vermette has won two-thirds of his draws so far on the young season.
Stephens also notes that Ducks coach Randy Carlyle is comfortable using Vermette in his penalty-killing rotation as well as on the power play. To date, Carlyle has been pleased with Vermette: “We had a discussion on where I saw him being used and where I felt he would get an opportunity. I could guarantee him that he would get certain things but if he held up his end of the bargain. That’s what the plan was. And I think that you can ask him that we’ve help up our end of the bargain and he’s held up his end of the bargain.”
As long as Vermette continues to perform at this level, the Ducks appear to have made a quality, value signing.
More from around the Pacific Division:
- Edmonton is off to a rare good start but like many other teams in the league, injuries are starting to pile up for the Oilers, as Kurt Leavins of the Edmonton Journal writes. Both Jesse Puljujarvi and Zack Kassian left Saturday’s game against the Islanders with injuries and did not return. Puljujarvi went down with what is being termed a Charley horse. Speaking from his own experience, Leavins termed the injury “short-term” but also noted that while the pain may be manageable, the stiffness might not be. The Oilers obviously decided not to risk it and scratched the Finnish winger for today’s game against Detroit. Kassian’s injury could be worse, according to Leavins. Head coach Todd McClellan called it a lower body injury but gave no other information. Leavins says the Oilers are at least fortunate that the rash of injuries have so far missed the team’s top players, noting that it would be much different if Connor McDavid, Oscar Klefbom or Cam Talbot went down for any length of time.
- Last night’s tilt between Vancouver and Toronto was a rough and tumble affair, as we wrote about earlier on Pro Hockey Rumors. At one point, Canucks goalie Ryan Miller left his crease to defend rookie blue liner Troy Stecher, who had been jumped by Toronto’s Matt Martin. Miller would then be confronted by Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen, and after all was said and done, Miller was assessed two game misconduct penalties. By rule, that would automatically come with a minimum two-game suspension but as Postmedia’s Ben Kuzma tweets, the league has rescinded one of those game misconducts, meaning Miller will not face a suspension.