When the Chicago Blackhawks take on the Carolina Hurricanes Monday night, they will have two new weapons in their arsenal. Chicago has acquired Antoine Vermette and Kimmo Timonen in trades with the Arizona Coyotes and Philadelphia Flyers respectively and both are projected to debut tonight.
Timonen took part in Sunday’s practice and skated alongside Brent Seabrook. The 39-year-old defenseman hasn’t played at all this season due to blood clots, but he’s eager to begin what might be his final push for the Stanley Cup.
“It was nice to be here and have a good practice, and a really good practice,” Timonen told CSN Chicago. “I feel like I’m ready [to play]. The game is when you get better, get your timing back. If they want me to play [Monday], I’m ready to play.”
Vermette is projected to serve as the team’s second line center. He should play alongside Patrick Sharp and Brandon Saad.
“It’s like we talk about you can never have enough D. But if you have guys who can play center and multiple positions, you just have more options when you’re putting lines together. It’s where you want to be strong, especially how we play,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “He’s very effective. Defensively he’s aware and plays hard.”
The Blackhawks certainly have depth up the middle now with Jonathan Toews leading the top line while Brad Richards and Marcus Kruger are projected to center the third and fourth lines respectively. Chicago should also be very effective on the draw going forward. The squad already ranks seventh with a 51.8 faceoff percentage, but now they have Vermette (56.0%) in addition to Toews (56.2%).