With Antoine Vermette heading for buyout many New York Islanders, fans have been looking to get the veteran center to Brooklyn. But let’s be real for a second if Arizona doesn’t want him…do we?
In the offseason, the New York Islanders added free agents Andrew Ladd, PA Parenteau, and Jason Chimera. All are decent veteran players that add an element to this team. It was an important retooling after losing some high-quality free agents of our own.
Each was added to improve a specific area of the club. Whether it be more offense on a fourth line or to create a more elite pairing on the first line.
An area of weakness for the New York Islanders last season was at the faceoff dot. In 2015-16 the New York Islanders ranked 16th in the league terms of faceoff wins wit 50.1%.
Enter Antoine Vermette…or not.
Some of the weakest links when it came to faceoffs were Ryan Strome (41.1%) and Casey Cizikas (48.9%). Our likely 2-3 punch up the middle going into the 2016-17 season.
With the recent buyout of 34-year-old center Antoine Vermette by the Arizona Coyotes, Isles fans have been panning for the Isles to bring the Québec native to Brooklyn.
Last season Vermette was solid at the faceoff cirlce with 794 wins, averaging a 55.8% success rating. Good enough for 14th in the league.
Faceoffs are important, that much is clear, there are even studies that indicate faceoff wins lead to increased possession (Corsi). More faceoff wins and increased possession?! Where do we sign?
Ain’t No Space
The big issue is finding space for Vermette. We already have our top three centers lined up in Tavares, Strome, and Cizikas. We also have a number of players either already at the senior level or in the system, that can flip between wing and center for the fourth spot.
Giving him playing time would mean taking another player’s playing time away for an increase in faceoff wins. Something that can certainly be coached up to a respectable level.
There’s also the issue of money. Vermette will certainly be cheap. At 34,fresh off a buyout, and weeks after the free-agency frenzy there’s no way he gets anywhere near the $3.75 million he was making last season.
But even giving Vermette somewhere between $600 thousand to $1 million would leave the Isles with just $3 to $2.658 million before the cap ceiling. And Ryan Strome still needs a new deal.
Vermette won’t be coming. And nor should he. He’s an ok hockey player and is great on the draw. But to give a roster spot to a one-dimensional player would be bad business. Let’s just hope Strome and Cizikas get better next season.