Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Coyotes Acquire Vermette

2011/2012 Stats2012July 1st Details
To PhoenixPosAgeGPGAPCap HitYearsCap Hit
Antoine VermetteF296081927$3.75m3$3.75m
To ColumbusPosAgeMINWSOPCap HitYearsCap Hit
Curtis McElhinneyG2871102$625k0UFA
2012 2nd Round Draft Pick
2013 Conditional 5th Round Draft Pick

The Phoenix Coyotes are right in the thick of the playoff picture in the Western Conference again this season and they have now thrown their hat in the trading circle, improving their team down the middle with the acquisition of Antoine Vermette from the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Jackets are now considered to be sellers in the league, as if there was going to be any doubt, being last in the West and it isn't just rental assets that are on the block, as now proven with this Vermette deal.  The Jackets acquire a pair of draft picks for the services of Vermette, which leads us all to believe that they might be in line to start from the ground up, depending on other deals, but getting some quality draft picks for a player signed on for a few more years signals the readiness to blow it all up.

The Coyotes get a very versatile forward that has seen time in all situations for all the teams that he has played for, power play and shorthanded.  This season, Vermette isn't scoring a whole bunch, but the Blue Jackets as a whole were not doing very well, so that shouldn't really count against him.  I would think that the structure in Phoenix would likely be a real benefit to Vermette, in whatever role they decide to put him in.  It's hard not to really like this move for keeping the Coyotes in the playoffs.

Salary CapIn the rebuild process, the Blue Jackets could do well with dropping some salary, which they have done, over the next three seasons after the 2012 year is complete, so cap-wise, they are just looking to gain some more flexibility.

A franchise that knows flexibility well is the Phoenix Coyotes, who are still under league management for the near future, at least.  The projected annual cap hit for the 2013 season now sits at $33.1 million for 15 players, including Vermette, so they have plenty of room to maneuvre, when they get new ownership and possibly a better cash flow.

ImplicationsNiesa S.'s draft team has had more than their fair share of hits to the line-up over the last couple of weeks, but I think this move might be good for her team, which now stands in 8th spot, 10 points out of the money. The Coyotes may be able to afford Vermette some more points on the scoresheet and while her team gets healthy for the stretch run, this could be a good combination for a push for some money this year.

This deal has plenty of potential to shake up the Pacific Division, making the Coyotes much stronger and putting pressure on the Sharks and the Kings to do something to improve their chances as well.  This could be a domino deal that forces the hands of a few to make deals and I think it could be a busy week in the Southwest USA.

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