It’s been nearly three months since the Chicago Blackhawks traded for Antoine Vermette, but after his epic game-winner last night (see below) we now know it was worth it.
The Blackhawks gave up a first round pick, but if you want to make playoff runs, you almost have to acquire complementary talent mid-season. In 2010, it was Nick Leddy. In 2013, it was Michal Handzus.
Now there’s Vermette in 2015, an acquisition that sparked legitimate optimism because 1) Patrick Kane had just gone down for 12 weeks after a historic start, and 2) Antoine Vermette is good at hockey.
And he’s played in a lot of playoff games.
Through last night, Vermette has now played in 69 postseason games – or only two less than Bryan Bickell – with four different teams. Ironically, six were against the Blackhawks in 2012 when he and the Coyotes won 4-2 on the way to a Western Conference Finals run.
Phoenix lost to the eventual champion LA Kings, with Antoine Vermette finishing as their leading scorer in the playoffs. He had a much smaller role on the Senators in 2007 – chipping in two goals as Ottawa went all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals before losing to…the Anaheim Ducks.
Eight years later he’s on the third longest playoff run of his career (and counting), beating those same Ducks on his second goal of the postseason and probably the biggest of his life. He’s posted a +/- of 4 in the postseason, tied for third best on the team despite only playing in 11 of the Blackhawks’ 14 games. Whenever he is on the ice, the dude is making an impact.
Which is why you trade for players like Antoine Vermette.