It is quite easy for a National Hockey League veteran to get used to winning, and loving the feeling of it. When that feeling hasn’t been back in years, you start wondering if it ever will return and if it might be time to hang up the skates…
It seems to be the case for veteran forward Antoine Vermette, who is currently at the crossroads of his career. The centre is about to turn 36 and while he still wants to keeps playing, he admits to LNH.com he needs to consider every option in the book, even retirement.
"I see nothing but positive everywhere. I am at peace with myself, ready for any eventuality," says Vermette to LNH.com, noting his family remains his priority.
His latest two-year contract with the Anaheim Ducks came to an end when the team was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. The Ducks were swept in four games by the San Jose Sharks.
"I'm sure I will not be back in Anaheim and that's fine," he told the website in an interview. "It was not a fully satisfactory situation for me towards the end. "
For many games in the latest season Vermette was either on the fourth line or even a healthy scratch, and for the former Cup champion, who won the ultimate prize with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2015, needs a change.
"I want to continue my career, but not at any price and it has nothing to do with financial considerations," he says. “I am not desperate. I will continue as long as the context is appealing to my family, I will have fun playing and I will feel useful. I want to have an impact.
"If I think these goals are not achievable, I will be very comfortable retiring. The time will then come to spend time with my family. I will have had a good career and achieved beautiful goals.”
Vermette’s agent Allan Walsh is looking at the different options, though playing in Europe and the Kontinental Hockey League are not amongst them. The 35-year-old forward wondered what he should do before July 1st, when he will become an unrestricted free agent and his agent told him to get ready for another NHL season…
"I asked my agent (Allan Walsh) if it was worth it to start my physical training and he said yes. I am acting like I'm going to play again. "
"I'm in great shape and I feel ready to make a good contribution"