Early in the first period against the Winnipeg Jets, with the Arizona Coyotes on a power play, a rebound kicked loose in front of Ondrej Pavelec, right toward the stick of Antoine Vermette. Instead of banging the puck into the pads of the Jets goalie, in that split second Vermette had the presence of mind to slide the puck over to Mikkel Boedker, gliding in between the circles.
Boedker buried it on the way to a win -- the Coyotes’ sixth in their past 10 games. Things aren’t great in the desert right now, but they’d be a lot worse without Vermette, whose name has surfaced in trade talks. He’s entering the final year of his contract and would be the best center on the free-agent market, and the Coyotes are near the bottom of the standings. That combination typically leads to a trade-deadline deal.
But one GM said things are still in a bit of a holding pattern on the Vermette front.
“Vermette’s name has been out there,” said the GM. “It’s out there, but he’s not available today.