After recording the lone score in Tuesday’s 1-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks, Phoenix Coyotes center Antoine Vermette is just five goals shy of his career high for a season.
The 31-year-old Canadian is having his best campaign as a Coyote: He leads the team with 22 goals, and he has 38 total points on the year.
All of that adds up to a strong case for making the team want to lock him up for the long term; his contract runs out at the end of the 2014-15 season.
The team’s captain, Shane Doan, joined the Burns & Gambo show Wednesday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM and praised the Coyotes center.
“He’s obviously a guy that we’re all excited about,” Doan said. “We wanted to get him re-signed and everything he can do as a player. Huge for us. I mean, he’s probably one of the best penalty killers in the league, and he’s probably the best face-off man.”
Vermette’s numbers have gotten consistently better since he joined the Coyotes. After he was traded to Phoenix midway through the 2011-12 season, he posted three goals and seven assists in 22 games for the Coyotes. The following year, he rang up 13 goals and eight assists in 48 games.
His most prolific season, points-wise, was 2009-10, when he put up 27 goals and 38 assists for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Vermette is due to make $3.75 million in 2014-15, the final season of his five-year contract.