Antoine Vermette makes 'easy adjustment' in return to Coyotes

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Antoine Vermette makes 'easy adjustment' in return to Coyotes
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After the Arizona Coyotes’ 4-1 loss to the Boston Bruins back on Feb. 28, Antoine Vermette held an emotional post-game scrum. The NHL trade deadline was less than 48 hours away and the pending unrestricted free agent knew he would be traded.

Not long before the Coyotes boarded the team plane that night, Vermette was on his way to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a first-round pick and prospect Klas Dahlback. A little over two months later, he was a Stanley Cup champion.

But the fit in Arizona was too good to say goodbye to forever, and on the opening day of free agency, Vermette inked a two-year, $7.5 million deal to return to the Coyotes.

“I was leaving without any expectations. All along through that process, right to the end, I didn’t want to put any kind of pressure on that side,” Vermette said about the March trade. “Right away I didn’t know [whether he'd return]. I knew I was leaving. I knew I could potentially not come back. I wasn’t really thinking about it.”

The transition back to Arizona will be an easy one for Vermette and his family. He still has his house there, so unpacking will be a bit easier and things will be less hectic, especially with daughter Emilia, who was born a few days after the Blackhawks’ Cup victory. “It’s just an easy adjustment. That was very important for us,” he said.

Coyotes general manager Don Maloney talked about the importance of building a roster from down the middle. That was the reason why he selected Dylan Strome at No. 3 in the Draft rather than deal the pick.

There were other options out there at center, but teams interested in making a trade wanted prized assets that Maloney wasn’t willing to give up. He’s now set down the middle with Vermette, Martin Hanzal, Brad Richardson and Boyd Gordon.

Vermette, who spent parts of four seasons in Arizona before the trade to Chicago, returns a champion, a big attribute Maloney is excited about.

“It’s never a bad thing to add Stanley Cup winners into your locker room, especially with some of the young players we’re going to have around, so this is really a great way to end the day,” he said.

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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