Blackhawks: How good was Antoine Vermette in 2015?
By Ryan Fedrau
Before the trade deadline in 2015, the Blackhawks traded for center Antoine Vermette. He didn’t make a huge impact until playoff time.
Antoine Vermette was a wonderful addition to the Chicago Blackhawks in 2015. Even though in 19 regular-season games, he left with just three assists, he turned everything around in the playoffs. If he didn’t pan out in the playoffs, it would have been a terrible trade.
In the trade for Vermette, Stan Bowman traded away the 2015 first-round draft pick and Klas Dahlbeck. Dahlbeck didn’t make a difference, the first-round draft pick would have made a difference if Vermette didn’t play well.
In 20 playoff games, Vermette had four goals and three assists for just seven points. Those numbers aren’t stand out numbers, but you have to dive in deeper. Of his four goals, three of them were game-winning goals.
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His first game-winning goal came in overtime against the Ducks. That goal tied the series at two games. If Vermette doesn’t score that goal, the Blackhawks might not get a chance to hoist their third Stanley Cup in six seasons.
The second game-winning goal came in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. On the road, Chicago came in and took the Lightning by storm.
Vermette would strike for the final time in a Blackhawks uniform. In Chicago’s 2-1 win against the Lightning in Game 5, Vermette had the game-winning goal.
That doesn’t happen often. Teams don’t normally find a player at the trade deadline and have them do what Vermette did for Chicago. From Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals on, Vermette was a top-five player for Chicago.
He deserves a lot of credit for the success of the team during the two series. Vermette was an impact player and is well-deserving of a Stanley Cup ring.
After winning his first career Stanley Cup, Vermette would return to the Coyotes, the team that traded him to Chicago in the first place. The 37-year-old journeyman hung up the skates in 2018, ironically as a member of the Ducks.
He would retire with 228 goals and 287 assists for 515 points in 1,046 career games.