Rangers listed as a suitor for Antoine Vermette’s services

Antione Vermette (nhl)

Antoine Vermette

Antoine Vermette

As we stated back in November, the Rangers have been kicking the tires around the league looking for a center. Last night on NBCSN’s NHL Live, TSN’s Bob McKenzie stated that the Rangers are interested in acquiring Antoine Vermette.

Per Nichols On Hockey Transcript:

“I think Antoine Vermette is the other one that’s in very high demand right now. Here’s another unrestricted free agent at the end of this year who they are going to trade, it’s just a matter of when.”

“Chicago, St. Louis, Montreal, Anaheim, the New York Rangers all amongst teams – contending teams – that would love to get this second line center who is good on faceoffs and can do a little bit of everything.

SNYRangers blog also picked up this story late yesterday.

McKenzie speculates that Coyotes GM, Don Maloney may look for more than the expected pick and a prospect. Vermette is 32 and an UFA come July, which usually yields a low return at the deadline. According to McKenzie, he believes with so many contending teams after his services Maloney could get better than that for Vermette.

So, will the Rangers go for broke and trade a roster player for the possibility of obtaining only a rental? I have a hard time believing so, but Vermette could be the missing piece to the Rangers Stanley Cup puzzle.

Vermette has 11 goals and 30 points in 46 games. Those would be respectable numbers for a 3rd line center playing 13-15 minutes a night, to date Vermette is averaging 19:01 per game, so expect a dip in production.

Here’s the big key here folks, with the Rangers struggling to win draws, Vermette has a staggering 57% winning percentage in the face-off circle (556 W to 417 L). This is exactly what the Rangers covet.

Here’s the big issue for Sather, Vermette comes with a cap hit of 3.75 million. The Rangers will need to move in some manner at least 2.5M in cap space to make room for Vermette. Which harkens back to who can the Rangers move to fit that bill. Here in lies the dilemma.

Will the Rangers outbid 4 other teams for his services? If so, which current roster player would they move for a center that can cure their face-off woes? Stay tuned.

Note: Received this clarification from Seth Rothman who has been a friend to this site for a long time. Please follow him.