Antoine Vermette

In praise of Antoine Vermette


In terms of well-rounded seasons, few are having better ones than Antoine Vermette.

The Phoenix center, who leads the team with 21 goals this year, is putting together the kind of campaign that pushed ‘Yotes GM Don Maloney to offer the highest of praise.

“I don’t think anyone would argue if I said Antoine has been our most valuable player this season,” Maloney told Fox Sports Arizona. “He does everything for us and he does it all well.”

Consider the following:

— Vermette leads the team in faceoff winning percentage (55.9), ninth-best in the NHL.

— Vermette leads the team in shorthanded goals (three), tied for second in the NHL.

— Vermette leads all Coyotes forwards in PK time, is fifth in PP time and is one of only two forwards to average at least 19 minutes per game.

The 31-year-old is also enjoying an unprecedented offensive streak. Vermette scored an unassisted goal on Tuesday against Dallas to extend his point streak to eight games, marking a career-high for while matching Shane Doan for the longest Phoenix point streak this season.

What’s more, it’s also the NHL’s longest active point streak.

Vermette has been scoring in bunches lately — a hat trick in Vancouver two Sundays ago, two points in a 3-0 win over L.A. last week — and is on pace for 31 goals, which would be a career best and the most he’s scored since netting 27 for Columbus during the 2009-10 campaign.

But, as head coach Dave Tippett pointed out, Vermette’s success isn’t just about putting pucks in the net.

“Even when he wasn’t scoring, his work ethic remained the same,” Tippett said, per “He’s been very opportunistic and two hat tricks [Vermette also had one in December against Ottawa] will move your numbers up fast. Plus he’s on a line with (Lauri Korpikoski and Mikkel Boedker) that really likes playing with each other and they’ve been a real effective group.”

It’ll be interesting how Vermette’s future plays out. He’s in the penultimate season of a five-year, $18.75 million deal that expires at the end of the 2014-15 campaign and, assuming he continues to produce, would likely garner a raise on his $3.75 million annual cap hit with his next contract.

Avs unveil new third jerseys

Avs Jerseys

The Avalanche will be throwing a bunch of different looks at us this season.

Having already released specialized “Mile High” jerseys for February’s Stadium Series game, the Avs unveiled new third sweaters on Friday — less than 24 hours after a bitter 5-4 home loss to Minnesota in their season opener.

(Guess Colorado wanted to send out some good vibes after blowing a 4-1 third-period lead.)

While undoubtedly exciting for the organization, the release of these new thirds isn’t taking anybody by surprise. Last month, several websites published leaked images of Colorado’s and Anaheim’s third jerseys, so the design has been in the public eye for several weeks.

The Avs will debut these new thirds on Oct. 24, in a Saturday night tilt against Columbus.

Related: Roy explains why he didn’t call time out

Report: Escrow set at 16 percent

Gary Bettman, Donald Fehr
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Hey, remember in June when the NHLPA voted to keep the five-percent growth factor in spite of increasing worries about escrow?

Well, here’s why that decision was a significant one, via TSN’s Frank Seravalli:

With early revenue projections in place, the NHL and NHLPA set the escrow withholding rate for players at 16 per cent for the first quarter of the season on Thursday.

That means every player will have 16 per cent of earnings deducted from their paycheque and put aside until after all of this season’s hockey-related revenue is counted to ensure a perfect 50-50 revenue split with owners.

Now, this doesn’t mean that the players will definitely lose 16 percent of their salaries. Typically, they receive refunds when all the accounting is done.

Still, 16 percent is a good-sized chunk to withhold. They won’t be thrilled about it.

Related: To understand escrow, consider Duncan Keith