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Coyotes' Vermette thrilled with unselfish decision

by Dan Rosen

NEWARK, N.J. -- Winning the Stanley Cup last season with the Chicago Blackhawks gave Arizona Coyotes center Antoine Vermette the peace of mind to do something on July 1 that would make everyone around him happy.

Vermette put his family first when considering the next move in his NHL career.

Instead of uprooting his wife and two young daughters from their Scottsdale, Ariz., home to a new locale, Vermette decided his best course of action was to re-sign with Arizona on a two-year, $7.5 million contract.

The Coyotes traded Vermette to the Blackhawks on Feb. 28. He scored three game-winning goals and had seven points in 20 games in Chicago's run to the Stanley Cup.

Vermette is certainly not making pennies on the dollar here, nor is anyone going to laud a husband and father for putting his family first, but Vermette did have options other than returning to Arizona this past summer. He couldn't find any that beat what the Coyotes had to offer.

"This is not only about hockey, the game, the business side of it if you want to call it that," Vermette said. "At the end of the day, we're human, we have a family, and this was just a great fit.

"Professionally it was a great fit as well. I'm comfortable. I know what's going on around here. I know the plan, what we are trying to accomplish around here. But family was a big factor in it."

So too was winning the Cup.

The Coyotes are just starting to carve a path toward being a contender and Vermette knew the road would be long when he re-signed. The fact that he had already won the Cup with Chicago allowed him to consider the bigger picture instead of just himself and chasing a dream.

"At this stage of my career, I'm 33 this year, that's the goal, but it's tough to win and it's tough to give yourself a chance to put your name on the big trophy," Vermette said. "Certainly, having a chance to do that last season kind of put things into perspective and was part of the thought process. It had an influence for sure in my decision."

The decision Vermette made to return to Arizona has turned out to be better than he expected. The Coyotes have become a fast, exciting team to watch. They're like the new hot young thing in the NHL. Expectations will undoubtedly grow within a year.

Rookies Max Domi, Anthony Duclair, Jordan Martinook and Klas Dahlbeck, who Arizona acquired in the Vermette trade last season, have made an enormous impact early in the season.

Dylan Strome, the No. 3 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, will likely be on his way next season. Perhaps so too will Nick Merkley, who was the No. 30 pick in the 2015 draft, a pick Arizona also acquired in the Vermette trade.

"It's been very exciting from the get go," Vermette said. "The young guys in this organization carry that great potential and have a lot of room to grow. Who knows where they can be at? It's very exciting being a part of it and seeing how much impact they can have."

The best part is Vermette didn't have to uproot his family to be a part of something he enjoys.

"I came back, literally unlocked the door and all my stuff was there," Vermette said. "It worked out great."

All he had to do was find a home for his new piece of jewelry, his Stanley Cup championship ring.

"It's in a safe in the bank," Vermette said. "You're not going to see me walking around with it on."

That would be rubbing it in.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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