Vermette inked for two more years

The Senators continue to fill out the roster, as they signed Antoine Vermette to a new two-year deal today. The contract, worth $2 mil over the term of the deal, will pay Vermette $925,000 this coming season and $1.075 million for the 2007-08 frame.

So for the cap hit, which is the number you should be most aware of, it'll be $1 million.

Personally, I think that's a great deal. I would have liked another year or two on the deal, but it appears that the organization is working on a two-year plan, and trying to get him to a three-year contract would have cost a lot more, I'd think.

I had pegged Vermette at $1.2 or $1.3 in my estimation, so they managed to come in under that. I think a big part of it was the contract Derek Roy agreed to (for $841,890). Roy and Vermette are similar players and put up similar numbers last season, so it's likely the organization would've used that comparable in the arbitration session scheduled for Thursday.

With the absence of both Martin Havlat and Bryan Smolinski, Vermette will probably have an increased role this coming year, no longer regulated to fourth line and penalty killing duty. On the one hand, I look at this as a positive. He's a supremely talented player, so he deserves more ice time. However, last year, while all the Vermette supporters cried out for him to get a larger role, whenever that occured, Vermette choked, and badly. Every time Antoine was put onto a top line, and it happened quite a bit (including a game in the playoffs alongside Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza), he disappred.

We'll see if he's grown and matured as a player, able to take on a more significant role on the team.

By the way, it's worth noting, that the following contracts run out at the end of the 2007-08 season:
Jason Spezza
Dany Heatley
Mike Fisher
Wade Redden
Antoine Vermette
Patrick Eaves
Andrej Meszaros

Only the non-bolded players will not be eligible for UFA status. That offseason will be a headache endusing one for whoever the team's GM is.