With two trades in as many days, the Chicago Blackhawks believe they've found the right pair to help fill the void left by the absence of their leading scorer and improve an inconsistent defense.
Veterans Antoine Vermette and Kimmo Timonen could make their debut with the Blackhawks on Monday night against the visiting Carolina Hurricanes, who can match a season high with their fourth straight win.
One night after Chicago (37-21-5) acquired Timonen from Philadelphia for two draft picks, it picked up Vermette from Arizona on Saturday in exchange for prospect Klas Dahlbeck and a 2015 first-round pick.
Though Vermette (13 goals, 22 assists) has been shut out in six straight contests, the addition of the Coyotes' top point-producing forward could help the Blackhawks overcome the expected 12-week loss of injured star Patrick Kane (fractured clavicle).
"Vermette is a terrific player," Coyotes general manager Don Maloney said.
While the 11-year veteran was a frequent subject of trade rumors and will certainly be welcome in Chicago, his immediate emotions were mixed.
"You've got to take (the trade) as a man," Vermette told the NHL's official website. "It's part of the game, unfortunately. It's not easy."
Timonen, who turns 40 this month, appears set to make his season debut after being sidelined by blood clots discovered in his leg and lungs last summer. The former All-Star ranks third among active NHL defensemen with 571 points.
"He's fresh, he's ready to go," Chicago general manager Stan Bowman said. "Once we get him up to speed, he's a great player."
Hoping to get one last shot at the Stanley Cup before retiring at the end of the season, Timonen provides a veteran presence for a defensive corps that's minus Johnny Oduya (upper-body injury) and has yielded at least four non-shootout goals in four of the last nine games.
"He is going to give us a lot of options, versatility and leadership," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville told the team's official website. "We'll get him going."
Third in the Central Division and a loser in four of six, Chicago looks to bounce back from a 4-0 defeat at Tampa Bay on Friday.
Corey Crawford wasn't in net for that contest but should play Monday after making 20 saves in a 3-0 victory at Florida on Thursday. He had allowed four goals in each of his two previous outings. Crawford posted a 1.93 goals-against average in winning both starts versus Carolina last season.
While the Blackhawks have been active buyers prior to Monday's trade deadline, the Hurricanes (24-30-7) have already unloaded forward Jiri Tlusty and defensemen Andrej Sekera and Tim Gleason.
Though Carolina is set to miss the playoffs for a sixth consecutive season, it's owned a 12-4 goal advantage during a three-game winning streak.
"We had a good week, obviously," coach Bill Peters told the team's official website.
Jay McClement, who signed a two-year contract extension with Carolina on Sunday, scored twice Saturday. He's recorded three of his six goals in the last three games.
Chicago captain Jonathan Toews had a goal in three straight games before Friday's loss. He's scored in two consecutive home contests against the Hurricanes.
Vermette has gone without a point in his last six versus Carolina.