It came as a bit of a surprise when the Arizona Coyotes bought out the final season of forward Antoine Vermette’s contract. Joining the ranks of the unemployed in August is not ideal for any free agent as most teams have already expended their available salary cap space and have essentially finalized their rosters by that point. Fortunately for Vermette, Anaheim decided to roll the dice and add the veteran pivot, signing him to a two-year deal with an AAV of $1.75MM. As Sarah McLellan of AZ Central writes, while Vermette was certainly disappointed to move on from Arizona, the situation in Southern California has worked out quite well for the former Coyote, Blue Jacket, Senator and Blackhawk.
Through 41 games with the Ducks, Vermette has scored seven goals and registered 18 points while winning 64.3% of the faceoffs he has taken. Anaheim head coach Randy Carlyle is glad to have the veteran two-way center around.
“We’re lucky to have him,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “He fits in with our group. He displays a work ethic, and (he’s) a true professional day-in, day-out. So (he) can’t help but be positive for our group.”
The buyout surprised Vermette but he focuses on the positives of his time in the desert and not the way it ended.
“I made some good friends,” Vermette said. “I had some good times. We had our share of success. Good memories collectively and personally, also. That’s not going to take it away. Obviously, I would have liked it to be different at the end, but that was absolutely out of my control and you gotta move on.”
Elsewhere in the Pacific Division:
- It’s been a busy week for San Jose Sharks defenseman Tim Heed. The 25-year-old was recalled from the AHL Thursday, reassigned to the Barracuda Friday, then brought back to the Sharks on an emergency basis in advance of Saturday’s game against Detroit. Fortunately Heed didn’t have to travel too far as both the Barracuda and Sharks were playing at home this weekend. Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer thought about inserting Heed into the lineup tonight in place of former first-round draft pick Mirco Mueller but ultimately decided against it, according to Curtis Pashelka of The Mercury News. “We think Mirco deserves a chance to play again here, but there’s people knocking on the door for that opportunity too,” DeBoer said, “and Mirco needs to understand that.” DeBoer’s remarks should be taken as a warning to Mueller that he isn’t performing up to expectations. However, Mueller is still just 21-years-old and has only two games of NHL experience this season. Defensemen tend to take longer to develop than forwards so there is still plenty of time to find his way in the league.
- Nikita Tryamkin, whose development into a reliable blue liner has been a bright spot this season for Vancouver, had trouble cracking the club’s lineup early in the campaign and at one point refused to accept a conditioning assignment to Utica, as the opt-out clause in his contract allowed him to do. Tryamkin believed in himself and knew he was able to contribute at the NHL level and as Jason Botchford writes in a piece for The Province, it’s now clear the Russian defenseman was correct. However, if Vancouver had not relented and had instead kept Tryamkin in the press box, it’s possible the young blue liner would have considered a return home. Fortunately for both parties, injuries on the blue line created an opportunity for Tryamkin and he has taken advantage of it. The 6-foot-7 defender is one of only two Canucks with a plus rating and has added five points in 31 games. One thing that made an impression on Canucks bench boss Willie Desjardins was Tryamkin’s work to get into game shape “You look where he is now, and you have to think he did a great job (of handling it),” head coach Willie Desjardins said. “He wanted to play. He did not want to sit. He was not happy when we didn’t play him. I felt, for him to be his best, he had to change his (fitness) to be ready. It’s not that he ever accepted it, but he worked at it and did it.”