One of the NHL's more popular journeymen, Antoine Vermette needs just one more goal or assist to join the 500-point club in what will be his 14th season. The 2000 second-round pick has one year left on his current deal with Anaheim before yet again having the option to hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent. In his prime -- and with the Blue Jackets -- Vermette took the league by storm with a 65-point output and a smidge above 20 minutes of ice time. Nowadays, he's lucky to garner 16 minutes per contest, as the Ducks have benefited from the rapid ascension of forwards like Rickard Rakell and Jakob Silfverberg. However, the team's depth down the middle is rather suspect, so he may eventually claim a spot that's conducive to the scoresheet. With that in mind, you could do much worse than selecting Vermette as a late-round flier in standard fantasy drafts.
Vermette collected a pair of assists in a 4-1 win over Vancouver on Tuesday. The points were his first in the eight contests since returning from a 10-game suspension for slashing an official back on Feb. 14. Vermette now has 24 points in 66 games in his first season in Anaheim, which means he's likely to finish with his lowest total in a full campaign since 2011-12 with Columbus.
Vermette has served his 10-game suspension and will be eligible to rejoin the lineup Sunday against the Capitals, Ducks color analyst Dan Wood reports. Vermette was on the ice for Sunday's morning skate alongside Nick Ritchie (neck) and Corey Perry, potentially positioning him for that line during the evening's contest. The veteran forward hasn't provided a high rate of scoring this season for Anaheim, but should provide a bit of a boost to the lineup Sunday.
Vermette's 10-game suspension for slashing an official was upheld by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reports. Vermette and the NHLPA had been lobbying for a reduced suspension for the centerman, but Bettman reportedly ruled that the contact made with linesman Shandor Alphonso fit under a Category 2 ruling that justifies the assessment of a 10-game ban for "physical abuse of official foul without intent to injure." Vermette will miss his fifth game Saturday due to the suspension and now won't be eligible to return until March 12.
Vermette's suspension for contact with an official was cut to five games Friday, Doug Maclean of Sportsnet reports. Vermette should certainly consider this a win after a fairly blatant slash to the leg of an official originally earned him a 10-game suspension. The shortened ban will result in the 34-year-old missing the rest of the Ducks' February contests, but he can now return to action March 3 against Toronto. In the interim, Ondrej Kase will slide up to the top line alongside Ryan Getzlaf.
Vermette was given a 10-game suspension Wednesday for contact with an official, Bob McKenzie of TSN reports. Vermette slashed the back of an official's leg during Tuesday's matchup with the Wild, which resulted in an ejection. The nature of the act resulted in an automatic 10-game ban, however, the 34-year-old can appeal the decision which could alter the length of the suspension. With pretty conclusive evidence that it was an intentional act, it would seem unlikely the center could get off with a lesser punishment, but it may be worth appealing anyway. Vermette is eligible to return Mar. 12 against the Capitals.
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