Though it was unlikely he’d be brought back to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Joel Vermin has put the matter to bed by signing a five-year contract with Lausanne HC of the Swiss NLA. Vermin was set to become a Group VI unrestricted free agent this summer, due to playing just 24 NHL games over more than three professional seasons in North America.
Vermin, 25, was selected in the seventh round of the 2013 draft after a breakout campaign in Switzerland. Scoring 35 points in 47 games he would be selected as a 21-year old after passing through the draft several times. It would be tough for him to repeat that both in the NLA or the AHL after coming over to North America, until this year. In 46 games for the Syracuse Crunch, Vermin scored 32 games and would help them get all the way to the Calder Cup Final as one of their best forwards. In his 18 games with the Lightning, he’d contribute three points and generally be used as an insurance policy, bouncing up and down between leagues regularly.
The undersized forward has a lot of offensive skill, but disappears at times on the ice. He did represent a depth option for an NHL team next year, but will instead sign the long-term deal in his home country and gain some sort of security. If his career progresses, perhaps we’ll be talking about him as a potential free agent at age-30, but that is still a long way away. Instead, we’ll likely see him as part of the Switzerland team at international events throughout the next few years.