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Antoine Vermette could be a fit for Lightning

By Joe Smith | Times staff writer
Published: February 26, 2018 Updated: February 26, 2018 at 11:31 AM
Anaheim Ducks goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere (35) stops Ottawa Senators' Antoine Vermette (20) on a penalty shot during the third period of Game 5 of the NHL Stanley Cup hockey finals in Anaheim, Calif. Wednesday, June 6, 2007. (AP PHOTO/CP, Paul Chiasson) ORG XMIT: RYR115

For all the talk about the Lightning searching for a defenseman at today's deadline, there's also another need it wants to fill:

A veteran, bottom six center who can win faceoffs.

And Tampa Bay could have a match with Ducks center Antoine Vermette, 35, who was a healthy scratch Sunday night. Sportsnet reported Vermette has a list of eight teams he can be moved to, and only two are in the playoff picture right now.

Vermette is a pending unrestricted free agent, so you'd think he might be able to be acquired with a draft pick, etc. The Wild's Matt Cullen is another interesting option, as is the Red Wings Luke Glendening, whom the Lightning has shown interest in, per The Athletic.

Vermette, a clutch player in the Blackhawks 2015 Stanley Cup run (including a series victory over Tampa Bay), has played for Arizona, Ottawa, Columbus and now Anaheim.

Vermette is one of the top faceoff men in the league at 60-percent, and that's an area the Lightning badly needs to improve on. Tampa Bay is 28th at 47.6-percent, according to

Something to watch for as 3 p.m. deadline approaches.