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2015 NHL Trade Deadline Speculation: Antoine Vermette a target for the Canadiens?

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With the March 2nd NHL trade deadline approaching, it's time to take a look at some potential trade targets for the Habs. Today's subject is Antoine Vermette.

Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

According to the godfather of hockey, Bob McKenzie, the Canadiens are among the teams that have expressed interest in the Arizona Coyotes forward.

The Coyotes seem intent on dealing him, it's just a matter of how much he will fetch. McKenzie claims that Vermette could go for as much as a first-round pick and a "real good prospect."

Vermette turned 32 this year, and will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. He's having a decent season for Arizona, playing on their second line. At the moment he's on pace for 53 points.

Player evaluation

vermette usage

(chart sourced from http://ownthepuck.blogspot.ca/)

Vermette receives a plethora of ice time in Arizona, and as you can see there's a significant drop in his production compared to his TOI.

There's been whispers that Montreal should seek out Vermette as an upgrade to Lars Eller, but that theory is severely flawed. Let's put up Eller's chart for the sake of comparison.

lars eller usage

It's fairly clear that Eller has outplayed Vermette for the last three seasons when you take their ice time and usage into consideration.  If Vermette was put into Eller's defensive role you'd be likely to see a major dip in production.

Spending assets to downgrade a position at which you don't need help simply doesn't make sense. Especially when the player you are upgrading is seven years younger than the player you are acquiring.

Cost

I spoke to Brendan Porter over at Five for Howling to get a better idea of what we should realistically expect Vermette to fetch in a trade. His proposal seems a lot less ambitious than McKenzie's advertised price.

Sven Andrighetto + 2nd round pick

The term 'mid-range prospect' was suggested, and I filled in the blanks by suggesting Andrighetto. It seems like fair value for Vermette, who's rumoured to want to cash in on his free agency status this summer.

If we follow McKenzie's rumour, the package would need to be beefed up to a first-round pick and someone along the lines of Charles Hudon or Jarred Tinordi.

Is it worth it?

All things considered, no. Vermette doesn't fill a need, he would probably cost too much for a rental, and really wouldn't upgrade Montreal's roster very much at all. If the Canadiens are intent on making deal for a forward once the trade deadline hits, they'd be better off looking for help on the wing. Don't forget to vote, and If you disagree you can make your case in the comments below.