Coyotes Cut Ties With Vermette, Blackhawks Interested?

In a surprising move on Monday, the Arizona Coyotes announced the team has bought out veteran center Antoine Vermette.

Vermette, 34, posted 17 goals and 21 assists in 76 games with the Coyotes last season. Only 17 players in the NHL took more faceoffs than Vermette (1,351) last year, one of them being Jonathan Toews. He won 55.8 percent of his draws for Arizona during the 2015-16 campaign.

He was traded to the Blackhawks by the Coyotes at the deadline during the 2014-15 season. In 19 regular season games with the Blackhawks in 2015, Vermette was credited with three assists and won 50 percent of his faceoffs. He added seven points in 20 postseason games as the Hawks went on to win the Stanley Cup; he was a healthy scratch early in the playoffs, but came on strong once coach Joel Quenneville re-inserted him into the lineup.

From the release:

“In order to give our team more flexibility, we needed to make this difficult decision,” said Chayka. “This move will provide an opportunity for some of our young, talented players to step up. Antoine is a class act and we thank him for all he did on and off the ice for the Arizona Coyotes organization. We wish him the best in the future.”

Chicago gave up defenseman Klas Dahlbeck and a first round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft (#30 – Nick Merkley) for Vermette. Dahlbeck was not given a qualifying offer as a restricted free agent but returned to the desert on a one-year, $750,000 deal for the 2016-17 campaign.

Before the 2014-15 season, the Blackhawks signed a veteran center coming off a buyout. Brad Richards was supposed to be the Hawks’ second line center, but found himself in a bottom six role at times in the wake of the Vermette acquisition. An individual in the Hawks organization called Vermette “one of the best faceoff men I’ve ever seen,” and his track record proves that out.

Toews and a healthy Marcus Kruger, both of whom are excellent faceoff men, return for the Hawks this season. But the middle six forwards is where Chicago could use a player like Vermette; Artem Anisimov won only 44.2 percent of his faceoffs last season, and the Hawks could have one of Dennis Rasmussen, Andrew Desjardins, Vince Hinostroza or Martin Lundberg as a fourth line center.

The question is whether or not Quenneville’s healthy scratches of Vermette in 2015 made enough of a negative impact on him to crush any chance of the Blackhawks bringing him back for another run.

43 thoughts on “Coyotes Cut Ties With Vermette, Blackhawks Interested?

  1. Would love to have Vermette back! I’m sure the Hawks could have him back on a cheaper deal. Can’t underestimate his overall constribution in SCF and in FO %. I say get him back Stan!

  2. At 34 years old I’d still take a 1 yr flyer on the guy. He is still a top 9 player and if anything allows some of the kids more time before jumping into the NHL.

  3. If the Hawks brought him in on a cheap contract, he could slot in between 72 and 88. That would free up 15 to potentially take the 1LW. Or, if they wanted to put him at 3C, that would work too because his FO% is a really good defensive weapon.

  4. If AV would take $1mm and understand that his presence as a role player to help the club win games and help mentor younger players……..sign him. Any more than a mil, let him go

  5. I think Kruger has only been over 50% F.O. once in his career, so A.V. would be a nice addition for the right price. If the Hawks want to be a puck possession team, they need to win faceoffs.

  6. Would love to have him back. He’s a class act and seemed to fit very well with the guys when he was here – I recall the jubilant bear hug that he and Toews shared during the on ice cup celebration. He’s great at the dot and would a a terrific mentor for the kids. @gravytrain – couldn’t agree more. The main reason we beat Tampa, IMO, was our total domination at the dot, and Vermette was a huge part of that.

  7. Tony, In the 2015 Finals, A.V.s FO% was: 55, 83, 50, 69, 73 & 61 in the 6 games. You’re right, the Hawks did dominate overall FO% in those games too.

  8. Biskit- I agree would give Q plenty options…

    2nd C to win more draws/chances for 72/88 to do their thing…

    If Vesey signs… It is setting up to be a Great Hawks team…
    I think Vesey/19/Schmaltz would be off the charts good/fun to watch…

    leaves a great checking/scoring 3rd line – of Motte or TooToo or Lundberg/AA/Hossa

    Might deepest Team since 2010-imo

    a lot of BIG IF’s of course…

    #1- vesey
    #2 Vermette signs w/ Hawks
    #3 – I am less concerned with – one of or both Schmaltz/Motte being NHL guys…

    they were outstanding in Camp– it will be about mental toughness for Schmaltz

  9. This reminds me of Brad Richards contract bought out and signs for a good cap hit for the team.

  10. Tab- that is a good point on Q benching AV…

    On the flipside… I remember when he came from Yotes… plenty of stories of AV crying/being heart broken about leaving… so who knows- maybe AV built a strong bond with a couple of Hawks… and he would be most comfortable/loyal to playing for Hawks again??? just a thought… but those stories told me a lot about AV… and he seems like he would be a real loyal/good friend to have.

  11. @wall while a vesey 19 schmaltz line would be nice do you really want 19 who makes 10+mill babysitting 2 rookies and 15 who has a cap hit of 4.5mill on 3rd line?

    vesey 19 15
    72 AV 88
    hino 16 81
    tootoo 11 14

  12. Averie H’n HL teeeem need a good French Candieeeanne wit de Quebec accent to make de teeeem a real teeeem.

  13. Lots of teams against the cap. Other teams internal budgets. Ducks,Preds,Sens come to mind. Ducks still have Lindholm they need to sign. Hawks are 10th in salary at this point. What playoff team could use a center? What team is he familiar with?

    Let’s remember when he was signed everyone thought he was the answer at 2c. I was hesitant to put him there as he has always been a really good 3c. Advanced stat people hate him. Which is what Chayka is. When he was over slotted at 2c it failed. When he was put at 3c it worked. It could go a lot of ways as far as what he wants. He hasn’t made the money Richards has. So I don’t know how much of a discount hed give. But, he did get a really raw deal from Arizona becoming a UFA this late in the game. So he might not be able to get much better money.

    Call him up. See if he’s interested at all. If the number isn’t crazy, see if he’ll wait 2 weeks. He could also be an option if they cant sign Vesey to play on the left side with Toews.

  14. Forever grateful for the double OT goal against Anaheim, game 4, 2015 Conference Finals.

    I left the United Center that night confident that Hawks would win the Stanley Cup.

    Vermette’s winner in game 5 at Tampa in the Finals paved the way for the incredible celebration 2 nights later at the U-C.

    Much appreciation for what he brought and the clutch goals.

  15. I remember that IQ. Didnt really like him when he was playing during the regular season …and when IQ dont like somebody he will not play him like he did often …in the playoff he did play but he was not a popular player for IQ
    Off course i like the guy and i know he can be a good player to have with the experience he has ….

  16. Ditto on pretty much everything everyone else has said. Class act. Great at the dot. If not too much money could be a great addition to a team with young guys on the way up. Give him a call, yes indeed, and see if something that helps both sides can be worked out! Really like the possibilities here.

  17. Come on, this is a no brainer, make it so SB. Money guys who know money, they got the money for this?

  18. Well finally some hockey news! Is it just me or has news been pretty sparse this year?At least last year people had Kane to kick around. Speaking of Kane if he hadn’t gotten hurt in 2014 the Hawks would have never had cap room and wouldn’t have picked up Vermette and a few others during the regular season and probably no Stanley Cup either. If he hasn’t lost any quickness then the Hawks need to find a way to sign him.

  19. if Vesey and Vermette ended up in Chicago, I’d think it would be more like this:

    vesey 19 81
    PAK
    Schmaltz AV Panik
    11 16 (Hino/Hartman/Ras/Mash/Lundburg/Tootoo)

  20. Nick- to answer the money question…they kinda do. The bonus thing is the kicker. If they do get Vesey you could potentially have 5.6 million in bonuses. Campbell has another 750k all but guaranteed as he needs to play 10 games. So you’re up to a possible 6.4. Other guys bonus eligible are Kempny at 225k. Pokka has 850k attached in bonuses. Schmaltz 350k this year. It would all depend on what Vermette would want. Can they fit Vesey’s hit and Vermette at 1 million or so? This year, yep. The problem is next year. They’re almost certain to have some overages. Just to what extent. Can they take a 5 million overage next year and pay Panarin? Could they take a 6.5 overage and pay him.

    One way to gain a few hundred thousand is to bury Desjardins and play Tootoo or Rasmussen instead. Anything they can do now to minimize the overage helps. But yeah, for just this year. They can make the money work.

  21. This is a classic case of good guy, AWFUL contract. Coyotes gave a guy a NMC who only wanted to play in the desert, and then, when they had too many young players to have a 34 year old on the NHL roster, they couldn’t give him away because he could veto everything. Their only out was buying him out. There is still value there as a 2 or 3 center on many rosters, but Arizona had no other option because of the NMC.

    If the Hawks land Vesey, that would be terrific. If they bring back Vermette, that would be a good thing. If they get neither one, and Motte and/or Schmaltz is on the NHL roster in October, I’m okay w/ that too. The Hawks have a nice amount of organizational depth ready for the NHL right now. If they add one/both of Vesey/Vermette, someone (Desjardins) would probably have to go.

  22. to Ernie’s final point: “One way to gain a few hundred thousand is to bury Desjardins and play Tootoo or Rasmussen instead.” I submit that the quality of play Desjardins brings to the table is worth $50,000 more than Tootoo being on the roster. Bury Mashinter’s $575k AND Tootoo’s $750k. There’s money you can spend.

  23. For some reason I thought Tootoo was signed cheaper. Nope. But for those that care..

    Vesey-19-Schmaltz
    72-15-88
    Motte-Vermette-81
    11-16- McNeil

    2-7
    51-4
    Kempny-57

    50-33

    Absolute bare bones. Vesey at 925, Vermette at 1 million. No scratches you have 2.783 in space for your 7th D and 13th forward. Panarin’s bonus dollars go down slightly this year. But you could potentially have 6.35 million in bonuses paid with that roster.

  24. Why sign Doan then if you want to get younger? Just so he could finish with Arizona? Doan’s deal is interesting as he’ll get 250k as a signing bonus until 2022. He has a games played bonus of 1 million spread out over 2 years to be paid out in 2018 and 2019. He also has a NMC.

    Coyotes at center have the oft injured Martin Hanzal, Dylan Strome, Ryan White, and Laurent Dauphin. The latter 2 you can’t feel too good about. I actually like the Coyotes roster. And Vermette could have put them into playoff contention. Their backend appears to be pretty solid. Solid at forward, but lack 4 centers.

    Vermette’s deal wasnt awful. 2 years at 3.75, this was the last year of it. Kruger had 4 pts in 40 some games and has a 3.083 hit for 3 years. Vermette had 38 points in 76 games.

  25. Forgot the 350k in bonuses Schmaltz has. So that would bring it up to a potential 6.7 in bonuses

  26. “Why sign Doan if you want to get younger?” – great question. the answer likely rests in the organization’s need for leadership, and not being able to pick out a single kid (like Connor McDavid) to hand the C off to already.

  27. Vermette was already under contract cheaper and they had more of a need at center than wing. Mcginn plays the same game as Doan. Could give the C to OEK, Or Hanzal if they want to keep him around. Or even Goligoski…he’s won a cup and that means something to some people (Edmonton and Ference). I’m not trying to argue. I just don’t understand the two moves together. I can see one or the other. But both seems odd.

    Its the Coyotes. I suppose that’s explanation enough.

  28. I still hate the way guys get traded at the trading deadline for picks and prospects then boomerang back to the team that traded them. I realize that’s why he’s called a “rental” player. But I believe there should be a stipulation that if a player traded within a month of the trading deadline, signs back with his original team on or after 7/1. One of the assets traded by the acquiring team must be returned.

    Translation, I am glad to see this did not work out for Arizona. I love Vermette but they got Dahlbeck + a 1st round pick for the loss of Vermette for 20 regular season games.

    Reminds of the baseball trade years ago when pitcher Dickie Noles was traded at the trading deadline for a player to be named later. Once Detroit was eliminated, they shipped him back and said, there’s your player to be named later.

  29. Thanks Ernie, and good point Tab, if that’s what happens so be it. I like the perpetual win now mode the Hawks have been in, and I think Vermette more of less falling in our lap is a huge step in the right direction. 4 honest to goodness NHL C’s is a good thing for this team, as evidenced by the Hawks’ last 2 playoff results, 1 cup, 1 1st round exit. I don’t get the feeling Vermette really liked it here though, not really sure why, but he was definitely upset when he first got traded, then went back to the team that traded him… he REALLY seems to like warmer weather. If this team ends up with Vesey and Vermette, watch out, but I think 1 or none is more likely.

  30. Let’s no get too excited about AV just yet. The Hawks have little money to lure him. If it were one or the other, I’d rather have Vesey.

    I agree that AV might not want the Hawks. He’s got his Cup. If I am him and have only 2-3 years left…..Go for the dough

  31. Not many line combinations offered above that include Motte. I think he makes the team right out of camp. I would love to see AV signed for the right price. When Vermette got reinstated in the lineup after Q’s “fresh legs” game he was a monster at the dot and scored some big goals with the 10/86 line. I think an argument can be made that we don’t win the Cup in 2015 without Vermette’s contribution.

  32. Ernie, good point about bonuses causing overages which could affect Panarin’s extension. One thing though – the Hawks already have $3M in overages from last season counting against the 2016/17 cap so in essence they have $3M baked in. So if Panarin, Vesey, Campbell and Schmaltz all earn their bonuses, the overage could be as high as $3.7M ($6.7M – $3M baked in) – not $6.7M.

  33. Itd be 3.7 more than last year. But their ceiling would still be 6.625 lower than everyone else’s

    In a fantasy scenario where you sign Vesey and everyone hits the max bonuses you’d have…

    Vesey-2.85
    Panarin-2.5
    Schmaltz- 350k
    Kempny- 225k
    Campbell- 750k

    None of those are guarantees. But if they do all hit. You’re at 70 million when everyone else can spend 76 ( if the cap goes up)

  34. Do not think the same bonuses are hit. Not having 47 retained caphit will help. Expansion draft. Salary will go up a couple or so, no matter what people say. After Bread Man signs new contract we wont have his bonus anymore, just his 6m caphit (after first yr).

  35. Not sure how much Vermette has left in the tank. And not sure if he will look for a bigger payday than what Chicago can offer him. I trust Bowman / Q’s decision whatever way this would play out.

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