34-Year-Old Center – Arizona Coyotes
Antoine Vermette Contract Information:
Signed a two-year, $7.5 million contract with the Coyotes in July of 2015.
Vermette lit the lamp on his only shot in Thursday's 3-2 overtime loss to the Predators.
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Antoine Vermette: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Vermette led the Coyotes in goals last season with 24, cracking the 20-goal plateau for the first time in four years. His excellence in the face-off circle continued as well, with the center ranking ninth in faceoff-winning percentage at 56.4 percent, while taking more draws than anyone not named Sidney Crosby. Vermette also enjoyed increased responsibility with the Coyotes than in recent years, seeing a surge in average ice time (19:13) and power-play production (seven goals, 13 points). His well-rounded game will be counted on again heavily by the Coyotes in 2014-15, with a role awaiting him on one of the top two lines and the penalty kill. Vermette isn't an elite scorer, but will contribute in a bunch of different ways to fantasy teams, particularly in leagues with specialty categories like faceoffs.
The Coyotes have come to count on Vermette's continued excellence in the face-off circle -- he won just over 57 percent of his draws in 2012-13 for the second season in a row. It's just too bad he can't deliver offense, too. He posted a disappointing 21 points In 48 games with Phoenix last season and is probably only good to hit the 30-point mark in 2013-14.
Vermette, a midseason acquisition for the Coyotes, tallied 10 points in 22 games and finished the season with 37 points. The former Blue Jacket came up huge in the postseason for the Coyotes and he's expected to be a big piece of the team's offensive puzzle going forward. It wouldn't be unreasonable to expect a 40-45 point season from Vermette. After all, he'll be skating as the team's top center.
The Blue Jackets' top faceoff man saw his production fall off last season as he bounced between lines, but with Jeff Carter and James Wisniewski around to revitalize the power play Vermette could end up being the biggest beneficiary. 20 goals and 50 points is a safe bet, but 25 and 60 (or better) isn't at all an unreasonable proposition.
Vermette was arguably the Blue Jackets' most valuable player in 2009-2010. He played rock-solid hockey at both ends of the ice for all 82 games (he was one of only a handful of Blue Jacket regulars to finish with a positive plus/minus), eventually finding himself centering the Rick Nash line and enjoying a career year offensively as a result. He's not a true top line pivot and would be a better fit as the #2 center, but he's got brains, heart and skills (in about that order) and brings enough to the table to get the job done. Even if he gets bumped off Nash's line, Columbus has enough developing young talent on the wings to keep him productive. Draft him for another 25+ goals and 60 points, but Vermette may not have reached his ceiling just yet.
After striking for 24 goals and 53 points in 2007-08, Vermette struggled to repeat those numbers in Ottawa, as the team's clubhouse turmoil took its toll on his focus. Liberated from the Senators' soap opera by a deadline deal to Columbus, Vermette turned on the jets and scored seven goals and 13 points in 17 games with his new club. He figures to begin this season anchoring the Blue Jackets' second line between gritty pivot R.J. Umberger and young stud Jakub Voracek, but if Derick Brassard struggles on Rick Nash's line Vermette is Plan B to center the team's superstar. Either way, Vermette seems a good bet to repeat his performance from two years ago.
The 26-year-old center/winger once again improved his point production in 2007-08 for the fourth straight season, besting his previous high by 14 points. He notched career highs in both goals (24) and assists (29) and was one of the better Senators players to finish the season. While he's arguably Ottawa's best penalty killer and face-off man, this year should see Vermette get more time on the second power-play unit, something he's wanted for a long time. While it gets old to talk of a "breakout" season for this talented player, his history of consistently improving point production points to an even better season ahead. Blessed with breakaway speed and fantastic hands, not to mention a new two-year contract, Vermette could put up over 60 points this season while likely playing on Ottawa's second line.
After a few years of playing on Ottawa's fourth and third lines, Vermette will be given every opportunity to make a name for himself on either the first or second line this year. The skilled and speedy Vermette, if he sticks with one of the top two lines, should be able to crack 50 or even 60 points this season.
Vermette will see his ice time increase this year, in both the penalty kill and at even strength. He should hit the 20-goal mark again this season and, with a little luck, could break the 50-point barrier.
Seems likely to be relegated to the fourth line center spot this season, barring an injury or significant trade. Could still land on a line with Heatley and Spezza so he's a name to keep an eye on.