Sep 10, 2013, 10:43 AM EDT
The Phoenix Coyotes have entered contract extension talks with forward Radim Vrbata and, based on GM Don Maloney’s statement, Vrbata should be in line for a tidy raise.
“He’s been a very good player for us and we’ve had great value for what we’re paying him,” Maloney told Fox Sports Arizona. “I feel like we’re always fair in our contracts — my idea of fair and other camps’ idea may be different — but when you look at his numbers, he’s probably earned more.”
Vrbata, 32, is in the final year of a three-year, $9 million deal with an average annual value of $3 million. While Maloney’s assertion is rare for a GM — who openly admits he got a steal of a deal? — it ultimately rings true.
The skillful Czech finished second on the team in scoring last year, with 28 points, and finished 11th in the NHL in goalscoring in 2011-12, with 35.
Vrbata’s goals were crucial scores as well. He tied Tampa Bay’s Steve Stamkos for the league lead in game-winners (12), pushing Phoenix to its first-ever Pacific Division championship.
Vrbata sounds as though he wants to stay in Phoenix and, after briefly leaving the organization to sign in Tampa for the 2008-09 season, realizes the desert is a good fit for him.
“Phoenix is the place where I’ve had the most success, where we like it as a family and where I like it as a hockey player,” Vrbata explained. “All the people around the team, Tip, Don, Shane (Doan) and the players, they make it a great situation for me.
“I wanted to be here even when the ownership situation was in limbo. With this new ownership group in place, it makes it even more appealing.”
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