USATSI_8672348_154158418_lowresCentre Antoine Vermette is back with the Arizona Coyotes.

Vermette scored four goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the Chicago Blackhawks, including two game-winners in the Final, and hoisted the ultimate prize in sports. He was traded to the Cup champs on February 28 and now he rejoins the Coyotes as a hero.

“I’m going to sleep a lot better tonight knowing that Antoine is back in the fold and with the other moves we made, we’ve jumped ahead leaps and bounds where we were two days ago,” general manager Don Maloney said.

Vermette had 25 points in 82 games with the Coyotes and Blackhawks last season, but it was his playoff explosion that likely led to the new deal. Arizona signed him to a two year contract worth $7.5 million.

Maloney was busy, as he said, signing Vermette, Steve Downie, Brad Richardson, Zybnek Michalek, Dylan Reese, and Anders Lindback to improve his hockey club.

Downie signed a one year deal after playing with the Penguins in 2014-2015. He had 28 points in 72 games and will “stick up for his teammates.” He had 238 penalty minutes with Pittsburgh last season, but Maloney thinks he’s a more disciplined player than he’s given credit for.

In Richardson, the Yotes have a 30-year-old centre with 13 goals in 45 games with the Vancouver Canucks last season. He signed a three year contract with Arizona and has also put in time with the Kings and Avalanche.

Michalek has a history with the Coyotes and is coming off a brief stint with the St. Louis Blues. He had four goals and a dozen points in 68 games and inked a two year deal with Arizona.

“We’ve solidified our blue line, really strengthened the lower half of our lineup,” Maloney said. “Now the trick is going to be finding more skill and more offensive ability to go with the things we’ve done. We certainly are expecting some good things from our younger players and to provide some of the offence but we know we have to bring in a few more players with a little more of an offensive upside.”

Reese is on a one year two-way contract and played 72 games with the AHL’s Portland Pirates, while Lindback split last year between the Sabres and Stars. The Coyotes were close to signing him last year and have been looking at the netminder for some time now.

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