Antoine Vermette acquired by Blackhawks, for steep deadline price

Antoine Vermette acquired by Blackhawks, for steep deadline price

The Chicago Blackhawks were probably going to acquire Antoine Vermette from the Arizona Coyotes even before the injury to Patrick Kane, but it became a necessity when the star winger went down.

So they made the deal on Saturday night, and paid the price to snag the prized trade deadline center.

Pierre LeBrun of ESPN reported that the Blackhawks traded their first-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft and highly-regarded defensive prospect Klas Dahlbeck for Vermette, an unrestricted free agent.

Yep, another first-rounder changing hands for a prized rental, as the Los Angeles Kings did in grabbing Andrej Sekera from Carolina. That’s how high the prices already are under less than 48 hours away from the trade deadline.

Vermette’s struggled a bit this season with 13 goals and 35 assists in 62 games, playing to a minus-22. He hasn’t been strong on possession (minus-2.1 Corsi Rel) but he remains a faceoff ace: 56 percent in over 1,300 faceoff attempts. That one-two punch with Jonathan Toews is the circle will be palpable. Plus, he plays on special teams and, frankly, was the best UFA forward available this season at the deadline.

Vermette was rumored to be linked to the Blackhawks before Kane’s injury for two reasons: One, because the team needed another center with Brad Richards’ annual playoff implosion due to arrive within weeks; and because GM Stan Bowman is going for it this season.

Yes, even with Kane’s injury. This is the last ride for this core, with players like Patrick Sharp and Johnny Oduya likely looking at their last ride with Chicago. This can be a championship team. Or, at the very least, one that advances deep enough to potentially get Kane back. Hence Vermette and Kimmo Timonen arrive.

It’s a hefty, hefty price for a rental. Dahlbeck is a former third-round pick who impressed at camp this season. He’s 6-1, with speed, and has been percolating in the AHL for three seasons. He can help the Coyotes now, and could be a good NHLer down the line; and the first-rounder will help down the line.

"Klas Dahlback is a big, strong, two-way defenseman who skates well and competes hard," Maloney said. "We are excited to welcome him to our organization."

Good job out of Don Maloney on this one. Now, hopefully his team keeps plummeting so Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel can really begin the franchise’s turnaround.

On the Milbury Scale, we'll give this deal...


The Blackhawks overpaid, which is fine if Vermette helps them win a round or two in the playoffs. If they go out in one, and he doesn't play well ... we could be calling this the Dahlbeck Trade one day.