The Chicago Blackhawks have acquired veteran forward Antoine Vermette from the Arizona Coyotes before the trade deadline, according to numerous reports. The deal will send rookie defenseman Klas Dahlbeck and a 2015 first-round pick to Arizona in exchange for Vermette.
If anyone was wondering whether GM Stan Bowman and the Blackhawks were planning to go all in this season after the Patrick Kane injury, the answer is clear. Following the Kimmo Timonen trade on Friday night, Bowman stepped up and paid a heavy price to land Vermette from the Coyotes to solidify the Blackhawks up the middle.
Vermette, 32, presumably will battle with Brad Richards for the remainder of the season to be the team's No. 2 center. Either way, those two should fill the center spots on the second and third lines, respectively, which could bump Teuvo Teravainen to a wing spot depending on how the coaching staff wants to lay things out.
The Blackhawks aren't getting a superstar, but Vermette has been a steady contributor for the Coyotes the past few seasons. In 62 games with Arizona in 2014-15, he's put up 13 goals and 22 assists. More importantly, Vermette brings a steady two-way presence to the center position, something the team badly could use behind top liner Jonathan Toews.
The price is a hefty one, as Dahlbeck was one of the team's best blue line prospects and a first-round pick is always valuable, but it's clear the Blackhawks want to strike while the iron is hot. Even with the Kane injury, the team's looming salary cap situation means things will look much different next season. As long as the current core is still intact, the Blackhawks are maintaining their Stanley Cup-or-bust formula.
The next few months are certainly going to be interesting.