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UFA of the Day: Radim Vrbata

Jun 19, 2014, 11:28 AM EDT

Montreal Canadiens v Phoenix Coyotes Getty Images

Check PHT each weekday for the first four weeks of June for a new pending unrestricted free agent of the day. Today’s UFA of the Day is…

Radim Vrbata

There are only seven pending UFAs who scored at least 20 goals in 2013-14, and Vrbata was one of them. In 2011-12, he scored 35 times, tied for the 11th most in the NHL. But because he’s a member of the Phoenix Coyotes, he doesn’t get much publicity.

Vrbata’s expiring contract paid him $9 million over three years — a good deal for the Coyotes, general manager Don Maloney admitted in September.

“He’s been a very good player for us and we’ve had great value for what we’re paying him,” Maloney said, per 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.”

The player and club talked contract extension in the preseason, but nothing came of it.

Vrbata has scored 215 times in his NHL career, but the 33-year-old winger didn’t really hit his stride until 2007-08, when he potted 27 goals for the Coyotes. In fact, he never had much success with any of the other four teams (Colorado, Carolina, Chicago, Tampa Bay) he played for — a fact of which he’s aware.

“It’s not always about the money,” Vrbata said. “You want to be paid fair, but sometimes it’s better to take less and be in a good situation.”

If it’s not Phoenix, a “good situation” would be one where he gets time with the man advantage. This past season, half his 20 goals came on a much-improved Coyotes power play.

  1. mshantz22 - Jun 19, 2014 at 11:44 AM

    Vrbata is a goal scorer and I imagine he will get a lot of offers if he makes it to free agency. I would love to see this guy on a line with Datsyuk and Zetterberg in Detroit.

    • kfraser91 - Jun 19, 2014 at 1:02 PM

      Or with Tatar, Nyquist, Helm…pretty much anywhere in the top 2 maybe 3rd depending on if Franzen is awake or sleeping that game lol. The right handed shot would be nice too

    • pjblake2redwings - Jun 19, 2014 at 1:52 PM

      IDK if I like him coming to Detroit since like they say, he has only been good in PHX.. We already took a big risk on Weiss and got screwed and still will for the next 4 years.. If he comes at a cheap price then I could see him coming in and filling the right handed shot that samuelsson use to.

      • kfraser91 - Jun 19, 2014 at 2:35 PM

        It looked like Samuelsson was a leftie using a right handed stick sometimes on the point on the PP…the guy couldnt keep a damn thing in the zone

  2. 311sucks - Jun 19, 2014 at 11:46 AM

    preds.

    • stepanup - Jun 19, 2014 at 2:22 PM

      Not sure why you’re getting the thumbs down. They need the goals and have the money.

      • 311sucks - Jun 19, 2014 at 11:23 PM

        he’d be a cheaper alternative instead of big names like vanek as well. his age is an issue though, you never know when some player’s play is going to fall off so I’d like them to sign him to a smaller deal like a 7 mil 2 year contract… a lot like the Cullen contract but a bit more cash and rightfully so.

  3. chunkyschoice - Jun 19, 2014 at 12:30 PM

    Pittsburgh perhaps? A bigger replacement for Jokinen?

    • erbaker67 - Jun 19, 2014 at 1:30 PM

      If he is looking for Power Play time, I dont see him coming to the Penguins.

  4. withseidelinn - Jun 19, 2014 at 3:40 PM

    Toronto

  5. frankiesweep - Jun 20, 2014 at 3:57 PM

    Someone please take him. He’s so streaky and useless so much of the time, I don’t want to see him back in a Coyotes uniform.

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