The Bruins like Antoine Vermette, but the price for him is high. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Antoine Vermette knows he just played his last game as an Arizona Coyote. It can’t be to not know what, or rather where, is next.
“I don’t know what I’m thinking,” he said after the Bruins beat the Coyotes Saturday. “It’s obviously a strange position, and it’s not a fun one. It’s not the way you see it. As a group here, it’s not the position you want to be in. It’s a little strange, to say the least.
“You’ve got to take it as a man, and it’s part of the game, unfortunately. It’s not easy.”
The veteran center is expected to be moved before Monday’s trade deadline, and though the asking price is high (reportedly a first-round pick), the Bruins are among the teams believed to be in on the 32-year-old free agent to be.
Vermette had no shots on goal and was a minus-1 on the day Saturday. He was matched up early against Patrice Bergeron‘s line and struggled.
Among the reasons as to why the B’s might be interested in Vermette is the Ottawa connection with Peter Chiarelli. Vermette played for the Senators from 2003-2009 and was a linemate of Chris Kelly‘s for three seasons.
Having been traded before, Kelly could understand Vermette’s postgame mood.
“Obviously it’s a difficult time. You guys love it, but it’s tough, especially for guys with families, to uproot midseason and things like that, but I played with Vermy for a few years in Ottawa and we’re still good friends,” Kelly said.
“He’s a great player. He plays every key position, he plays power play, kills penalties, last minute [whether] you’re up or down, he’s out there. Just a quality guy. He’s been around a long time, and any team that gets him, they’re going to be extremely happy with what they get.”
Asked whether he would like the Bruins to be that team, Kelly voiced his support for a potential Vermette acquisition.
“Yeah. Yeah, why not?” Kelly said. “I think if we have that opportunity and he comes, it would be great to see him and play with him again. We had a lot of great memories. We played together quite often in Ottawa and it was fun.”