Antoine Vermette & some guy named Mats

It’s been a while since my last blog, reason mainly due to lack of news to comment on. But since officially we are just one day away from August 1st, which the media reportedly took Sundin’s comment as an indication for a definite deadline on his decision.

So yesterday, J.P. Barry came out and explained that there are now six teams interested in Sundin, and that his client never said anything about Aug 1st, Sundin only meant sometime within August. The “Aug 1st deadline” is merely a “Soft Deadline”. (What does soft deadline means, anyway?)

Somehow my wild-guesses ar becomimg reality lately. I posted a reply on CDC regarding Naslund signing with NY two weeks before it became official, and last week, out of frustration, I predicted that Sundin won’t sign here but with the Avs with Sakic retiring. Of course, none of what I wrote had any legitimate sources or evidence behind it, I simply thought it would make sense. Hopefully this time around, it won’t all come true.

But at least for now, the Avs are suddenly in the race for Sundin as well. But honestly speaking…

WHO CARES???!!!!

Well, a lot of people, apparently. But as for me, I am losing interest on the entire Sundin deal, for reasons I don’t want to repeat here again.

I mean if Sundin doesn’t sign with the Canucks, it’s not really the end of the world. Unlike someone posted on CDC today, NO we don’t need to rebuild the enitre team because a 37-yr old forward doesn’t sign a 2-yr 20M deal with us. I think we are better off. I’m not just saying that now, I’ve never been a big supporter for this deal since the beginning.

Ok, shall we move on?

Now on the other hand, Antoine Vermette is a totally different case. I know recently there’s been a lot of talk about the Sens wanting to avoid arbitration, and are thinking of trading Vermette to Vancouver for rugged defenceman Kevin Bieska. Reports suggest that Mike Gillis laughed at the offer, and are only considering Salo instead. 

I like Bieska a lot, and think he has very good potential to step-up further, but seeing how the Canucks needing a forward more than a defenceman. I think this trade will be good for us, especially if we can get more than just Vermette from the deal, since IMO Bieska is a bit more valuable then Vermette.

So let’s take a closer look at Vermette’s numbers:

– Drafted in the second round, 55th overall, decent – not great.
– Played with the big club since 03-04, 14 points in 57 games, decent – not great.
– In his first full season 05-06, 33 point in 82 games, 21 goals and 12 assists, 6 shorthanded goals – very good.
– This past season was his best, putting up 53 points in 81 games – 24 goals 29 points – 5th in team scoring for a talented Senator squad – very good indeed.

Of course, he’s playing in the softer Eastern Conference, but at the age of 26, he is just entering his prime and with his speed and PK ability, he has the potential to become a first-line centerman.

But a quote from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun may be a better description of Vermette:

“When they needed a penalty killed, he was one of the first players tapped on the back. When they needed to win an important faceoff, he was usually their go-to guy. And when they needed a goal in a shootout, well, No. 20 was called upon more than any of his teammates. Yet when it came to talking turkey, it appears the Senators virtually ignored him. Now, they can look away no longer. ”

Vermette is of course a Restricted Free Agent this year, and this goes back to his two-year contract signed in 2005. He made 1.075M last season. The Ottawa Sun suggest that he is looking for a long term deal in the 3-million/season range through arbitration. So if we do trade Bieska (3.75 million/season Cap Hit) for Vermette, we actually created a bit more Cap room!

But like I mentioned above, I don’t think a straight-up trade is sensible for Vancouver, since the market value for Bieska is still slightly higher than Vermette, and knowing Ottawa’s urgency to trade him before Arbitration – July 31st – that is the end of today, we should be able to get more from this deal.

What happens if no deal is struck, and they are forced into arbitration? Then both sides will have to go to Toronto and stand in front of a judge, while Bryan Murray shows evidence and testimonial on why Vermette is not really that good of a player, and why he’s not worth what he’s seeking. Of course then Vermette’s camp will present his case on why he’s worth 3+ million per year. Not the friendliest atmosphere one can imagine. If the terms awarded is accepted by the Sens, then the two sides will have to work out a way to re-motivate Vermette for next season, or the Sens will have to trade him (Not sure if you can do it immediately though…) If the Sens reject the ruling, they can walk away, and Vermette will instantly becomes an Unrestricted Free Agent, and he can sign anywhere he wants to.

Either way, seriously, I don’t see Vermette playing for the Sens next season. But there’s still some time left before they arrive in Toronto, let’s hope something will be announced soon!!!

P.S. If we do sign Vermette and not Sundin, the average age of the Canucks top two lines will be around 26. We may not be a cup-contender immediately, but we will be a much younger and faster team. Maybe AV can stop playing such a defensive game with the new roster?

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One thought on “Antoine Vermette & some guy named Mats

  1. Sooooo… Vermette signed with Ottawa for 2 years this morning. And assuming Sundin doesn’t sign here (which I think is pretty safe to say), then who the hell do we spend our 10 million dollars on! Rumors have been thrown around about getting Gionta, Nylander, or even Afinogenov (although who knows how legit any of those are). I would really like to know what Gillis’ backup plan is because if we don’t add at least one more top 6 forward then we look pretty much the same as last year.

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