The 2013 season wasn’t particularly kind to any member of the Phoenix Coyotes, as they once again struggled to find offense, dealt with injuries and more ownership woes, and missed the playoffs for the first time with Dave Tippett behind the bench.
One player in particular that struggled mightily throughout the season, at least in terms of what we’ve come to expect from him, was Antoine Vermette. A lot of his two-way play was still there, but his offense took a mighty hit for the Coyotes in the shortened season.
Vermette hasn’t had the same type of offensive output since his 65-point campaign a couple of years ago. Nonetheless, he’s proven to be a guy that you can rely on for 20 or so goals and 25-30 helpers. A strong finish and postseason with the Coyotes in 2011-12 indicated potentially big things from Vermette in 2013.
That didn’t happen. Vermette struggled mightily to provide offense, particularly earlier in the year. The end result was just 21 points on the year, having appeared in all 48 games. Of his 21 points, 13 of them came from putting the puck in the net, to just eight assists.
Again, a lot of what makes him one of the game’s more underrated two-way players was still there. He provided strong play in his own zone from the forward position, and was once again a wizard at the faceoff dot. He simply couldn’t get it going in the offensive end. And he’s far from the only member of the Coyotes with that issue.
The 2013-14 season brings about a fresh start for Vermette, as well as the organization as a whole. With a completely healthy team, and less pressure on him now as the no. 2 center, Vermette should be able to rebound and rediscover some of that offensive form heading into his first full 82-game campaign in the desert.