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Vermette returns to Coyotes after winning Cup

by NHL Media / Chicago Blackhawks

After helping the Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup, center Antoine Vermette returned to the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday, signing a two-year contract.

Vermette, who spent parts of four seasons with the Coyotes before being traded to the Blackhawks on Feb. 28, scored four goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, including two game-winners in the Final that helped Chicago defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games for its third title in six years.

The contract is worth $7.5 million, an average annual value of $3.75 million, according to multiple media reports.

"I'm going to sleep a lot better tonight knowing that Antoine is back in the fold and with the other moves we made, we've jumped ahead leaps and bounds where we were two days ago," general manager Don Maloney told the Coyotes website.

Vermette, 32, had 13 goals and 25 points in 82 games with the Coyotes and Blackhawks last season. He has 194 goals and 433 points in 834 regular-season games with the Blackhawks, Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets and Ottawa Senators.

"We've always like Antoine," Maloney said. "He's one of us. He fits with us, he's a good person.

"It's never a bad thing to add Stanley Cup winners into your locker room, especially with some of the young players, so this is really a great way to end the day."

The Coyotes also signed forwards Steve Downie and Brad Richardson, defensemen Zbynek Michalek and Dylan Reese, and goalie Anders Lindback.

Downie, 28, had 28 points and 238 penalty minutes in 72 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins last season and signed a one-year contract.

"Steve is known for sticking up for his teammates," Maloney said. "On-ice discipline has been [something] that he has to continue to work on, but he has been a better hockey player than you'd think for a guy that led the League in penalty minutes."

Richardson, 30, had 13 goals in 45 games last season with the Vancouver Canucks and signed a three-year contract. He has also played with the Los Angeles Kings and Colorado Avalanche.

"[Richardson] is a quick, fast intelligent player. … He seemed to score against us all the time [when with the Vancouver Canucks]. He just gives us another legitimate center iceman," Maloney said.

Michalek played with the Coyotes from 2005-10 and again from 2012-15, before he was sent to the St. Louis Blues prior to the NHL Trade Deadline. He had four goals and 12 points in 68 games. He signed a two-year contract.

"We've solidified our blue line, really strengthened the lower half of our lineup," Maloney said. "Now the trick is going to be finding more skill and more offensive ability to go with the things we've done. We certainly are expecting some good things from our younger players and to provide some of the offense but we know we have to bring in a few more players with a little more of an offensive upside."

Reese, 30, signed a one-year two-way contract. He played in 72 games with the Coyotes' American Hockey League affiliate, the Portland Pirates and played in one game with the Coyotes.

Lindback, 27, split last season between the Buffalo Sabres and Dallas Stars. He was 6-16-2 with a 3.11 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage.

"We liked Anders the last few seasons," Maloney said. "We were close to signing him last year. … He had a real good finish to his season in Buffalo. Hopefully he can give us what we need."

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