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Vrbata’s asking price high, Coyotes expect he’ll go to market

Jun 30, 2014, 11:31 AM EDT

Phoenix Coyotes v Nashville Predators Getty Images

Sounds as though Radim Vrbata‘s time in the desert will soon be up.

Vrbata, who scored a career-high 35 goals for the Coyotes two years ago, looks as though he’ll be testing free agency tomorrow, per Fox Sports Arizona:

When asked specifically if the Gagner trade closed the door on a return by wing Radim Vrbata, [GM Don] Maloney said the Coyotes would love to have him back, but the asking price is currently too high.

Vrbata is believed to be seeking a three-to-four year deal at an average annual value of $4.5 million. Given the Coyotes’ financial constraints and Vrbata’s age (33) that is probably too much.

Vrbata just wrapped the last of a three-year, $9 million deal so it’s not overly surprising he’s looking for a significant pay bump in what looks to be a relatively thin draft year. In terms of UFA goalscoring wingers, Vrbata’s right up there — he had 20 goals or more in four of his six seasons in Arizona and, during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign, scored 12 times in 34 games…which works out to 28 over an 82-game season.

It also sounds as though teams are ready to pounce on the Czech sniper. Per Sportsnet, “as many as six teams are serious” in acquiring Vrbata’s services.

There’s also this, from ESPN:

  1. valoisvipers - Jun 30, 2014 at 12:59 PM

    He is a good player and will not have any trouble finding a new home at his asking price.

  2. ray2013 - Jun 30, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    That asking price does not seem unreasonable in today’s game, though the term might be for a player his age.

  3. pj608 - Jun 30, 2014 at 1:41 PM

    Doing the same that any half way decent player would do on a crappy team. I will say they had a bit of bad luck but that goes to show that this team is near nothing with out Mike Smith

    • booman4404 - Jun 30, 2014 at 8:41 PM

      Sorry but near nothing without Mike Smith????Please he is an average goaltender at best.The Coyotes let their best goaltender go last year in Chad Johnson.A better cheaper option who they have the chance of resigning in free agency this year.I know it was a small sample size with the Yotes but look at his stats this year with Boston.17-4 .922 save percentage and like a 2.12 goals against.Sorry but the Coyotes made a bad decision in signing Smith an grossly overpaid ,Injury Prone goalie who gives a ton of soft goals up.I suppose everybody wants to blame their best player Yandle for the soft goals but that’s not the case.Look at Smiths career stats and up until last year he only started more than 60 games in a season once because he is injury prone.He also is self centered and is quick to blame teammates about their poor play and never takes responsibility for his poor play.Just another bad contract but hopefully the Coyotes sign Johnson to push Smith and even take his starting job.The Yotes should also buyout Erat and his 4.5 million contract because him and his 2 goals is grossly overpaid.Also and I know this will piss off Yotes diehard fans but they should buyout Span.He has not earned his 5.3 million contract and is washed up and its a very smart business decision.This frees up 9.8 million towards the cap and because these contracts are under the old CBA they won’t count against the cap.Today is the last day to use their 2 compliance buyouts under the old CBA however.

  4. coyotes89 - Jun 30, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    He is good. One of the best there. Only problem is he seems to spend to much of the year injured and slumping because he is getting over the injury. I would like to see him stay. But I understand that 4.5 is a lot for a streaky goal scorer like him. When he is on he is on. And when he is off he is off.

    • buckhome - Jun 30, 2014 at 5:35 PM

      Taking out the strike shortened season, his other recent seasons in Phoenix he had games played totals of 82, 79, 77 and 80. So where’s this ‘spends too much of the year injured’?

      I don’t think he’s a 4.5 per guy either, but not for the reason you gave.

  5. beedotsix - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:47 PM

    As weird as it is to say, I wish we’d get back to the days where the Coyotes were going to leave Phoenix, so there could actually be some money to pay good players to play on that team.

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