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Coyotes explain why they let Vrbata walk

Jul 2, 2014, 10:23 PM EDT

Radim Vrbata, Ondrej Pavelec AP

As much as the story of Radim Vrbata‘s new contract was about the Vancouver Canucks adding a key winger, the other reaction was: who, exactly, is going to score goals for the Arizona Coyotes next season?

That question remains, yet Coyotes GM Don Maloney answered another big question with Fox Sports Arizona’s Craig Morgan: why did they let the 33-year-old forward go?

It certainly doesn’t sound like the Coyotes were glad to part with him like, say, Mike Ribeiro (whom they paid to go away). Maloney told Morgan that he was in contact with Vrbata over texts to try to work something out and seemed to get very close.

The stumbling block was clear: Vrbata wanted a  no-trade or no-movement clause while Maloney and the Coyotes stood their ground.

As Morgan discusses here, Vrbata seemed like he wanted to stay with the Coyotes, yet the Canucks’ deal provided security he simply couldn’t turn down:

Vrbaa and his wife, Petra, had their second son (Oliver) on April 30, so there was plenty of thought given to remaining in Phoenix. They weren’t keen on the idea of uprooting the family at such a delicate time. The couple loves living in the Valley, and Vrbata knows full well that his best years as a pro have all come wearing a Coyotes sweater.

The next question is: will Maloney regret “dying on this hill?”

On one hand, you have plenty of examples of teams struggling to deal a player who wants out but also gets to make the call about where he’ll accept a trade.

On the other hand, would Maloney be better served stating that he won’t give out such clauses to players on long-term deals? One would imagine it’s a little easier to stomach a player who has that power on a two-year contract like the one Vrbata signed, especially if he was willing to take less money with the Coyotes.

Either way, many West teams got much more formidable on paper while the Coyotes did not. At the same time, Maloney & Co. can enjoy more flexibility and hope that the team’s young players can pick up the slack.

Did Maloney make the right choice?

  1. thailer35 - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:34 PM

    Tough to see vrby go. We will definitely miss him here. Interested to see which young guys make the team this year. Have a hard time believing domi won’t. We really need a scoring winger, and that’s exactly what he is. Maybe he and gagner can develop some good chemistry.

    • hockey412 - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:02 AM

      Who’s the last forward that Pheonix drafted to make an impact at the NHL level?

      (Not being critical, I honestly am curious and don’t follow the Yotes much).

      • darksidecowboy - Jul 3, 2014 at 3:46 PM

        The closest they had was Danny Briere and maybe Peter Mueller who before having concussion issues was tearing it up when in PHX and then Colorado. Otherwise they have a keen eye for defenseman.

  2. luz56 - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:37 PM

    I keep hearing Hudler from Calgary for Yandle

    • stevebass2 - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:39 PM

      They’d have the send half of the Flames franchise to make that worth it

    • flyerspsu - Jul 3, 2014 at 2:54 AM

      lol where?

    • nflnhlrulznbasux - Jul 3, 2014 at 6:01 AM

      blomfield posts more intelligent comments then your so-called heard rumour

      • JoeAvg - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:46 AM

        No he doesn’t. Just look below.

      • avfanforlife - Jul 3, 2014 at 12:29 PM

        1. You (nflhlrxzbxx..) probably are blomfield, just trolling under a different name
        2. His lame, stupid, ridiculous videos ruin threads and just take up space.

        I think just about everybody stops scrolling down as soon as they see his video’s coming onto the screen. PHT needs to address the issue in my opinion and eliminate posting utube videos.

      • avfanforlife - Jul 3, 2014 at 12:31 PM

        Unless of course, you were making fun of Mr. Blomfld, then Thumbs UP !!!

      • nflnhlrulznbasux - Jul 3, 2014 at 2:10 PM

        I think blimdork is making us all paranoid about alias accounts. He is older, lonely, possibly schizophrenic, perhaps even psychotic. But definitely, he’s one of those creepy analytical nerds that try to become some creative dynamic personality via this and other sites. He loves the attention, as he believes the enormous negative comments as “reaching us all”; but in reality, no one gives a sh-it or reads his posts. I agree, those videos must go.

  3. lateralous - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:37 PM

    On one hand it seems silly for Maloney to die on the no trade clause hill if Vrbada wanted to stay and ultimately took a 2 year deal. Has any GM ever gotten themselves in trouble on a no-trade clause for a 2 year deal?

    On the other hand, no one does more with less than Maloney. We’ll probably be having this same discussion in 2 years or whatever when Gagner is one of the top UFAs after finding his game in Phoenix…er Glendale.

  4. luz56 - Jul 2, 2014 at 11:19 PM

    Hudler gives the team much needed scoring… Coyotes are in tough this year but saying that rookies have to step it up… Love the Gagner deal.. Dubnyk is a sieve..

    • lordfletcher - Jul 2, 2014 at 11:44 PM

      Hudler carries little value… Yandle has tons worth.

      Calgary is rebuilding. I doubt they trade promising youth and toss Hudler in for free to bring in Handle. Makes no sense.

      Also Phoenix isn’t selling as of now. Yandle is their best offensive player sadly. Unless the are looking at a top two pick come the deadline, they won’t be sellers till at least next year

      • bluesdroogie - Jul 3, 2014 at 12:45 AM

        Calgary gave every team a hard fought game last year. haven’t heard what they have done this offseason besides losing cammalieri but I am sure they will be back just as fierce and better this season.

  5. booman4404 - Jul 2, 2014 at 11:50 PM

    Seems like the Coyotes are still owned by the NHL.I thought once the sale was done the restraints were off and the Coyotes would be able to contend for the playoffs and be exciting to watch and put players on the ice that fans would pay to see.The new ownership lied to the Arizona fans just to buy the team so they can move it to Quebec in 4 years.This roster is a joke as is Maloney.You keep a piece of crap like Erat and his astounding 3 goals when you could have bought him out under the old CBA which frees up 4.5 million $.You could have bought out Do an and his 5.3 million $ contract under the old CBA and now you freed up 9.8 million in cap space.I no Doan is a nice guy and popular in the community but this is a smart business decision because Doan is not earning his contract.The Coyotes are in this mess because of signings like Doan,Mike Smith (overrated,overpaid,injury prone,soft goal giving up.selfish goalie),Schlemko(horrible defenseman) Stone (skates like his last name)Korpokoski (what a joke of a player),klinkhammer(plug), and Ribero who they bought out after a year.So now you left with only being able to sign Vitale and Dubnyk.Wow!!!This team will lose between 50-60 games this year because they are that bad.So bad they keep trying to trade their best player Yandle (leading scorer 53 points) which would create another hole and probably mean closer to 70 losses for this joke of a team.Poor Dave Tippett a great coach who gets the most out of his players but this team is garbage and he deserves better!!!!Why build through the draft if your never going to call them up you idiots.Maloney and the new ownership say they are on a budget which means they can’t put a product on ice that’s competitive or worth paying to see.Its like they are still owned by the NHL.Well guess what I’m on a budget too and I’m not going to waste my hard earned money too watch this crap team run by a horrible gm and deceitful new owners.Time too jump ship and watch a real team like the Black hawks.A class organization who drafts well ,can replace players they lost with their own junior league players,signs free agents,and has a product on the ice worth watching and is competitive.So long Coyotes good luck in Quebec.

    • valoisvipers - Jul 3, 2014 at 12:39 AM

      With you gone, the fan base is down to 9.
      Seriously they should have ponied up and kept Radam unless Maloney’s master plan is to TANK for next years pick.

    • bluesdroogie - Jul 3, 2014 at 12:53 AM

      the nhl will not allow the coyotes to relocate to the east. if anything they will move to the northwest or Kansas city. you have to keep in mind 14 teams in the west 16 teams in the east. unless contraction becomes a real possibility 2 teams will eventually be added to the west and no teams will leave the west

      • bluesdroogie - Jul 3, 2014 at 7:49 AM

        so many thumbs down but we all know that is true

    • cgaz87 - Jul 3, 2014 at 12:27 PM

      Your way off on this one. Buying out Smitty would have been idiotic. He was the reason last year we had our best start as a franchise and had 2nd most pts after 20 games. Dude won a gold in sochi, back off. Schlemko is a solid d-man. When you have guys named OEL, Yandle, Michalek, and Morris paired ahead of you it’s hard to outhshine them. He plays aggressive, blocks tons of shots, can play any situation, and has an underrated stick and can also chip in on offense. Korpi gives us much needed speed while the Colonel has grit and adds some size. The coyotes call up their prospects because that’s what they are. Let them develop or you end up with another Mueller, Turris, Tikhonov. No doubt losing Vrbata hurts more than losing Ribs but who will score is not a new question in the desert. They will score by committee as always with the help of domi and Samuelson. Tippett will make them a competitive team, one that can win a 1-0 or 2-1 game and also be a contender for the 3rd seed in Pacific if not then wild card for sure.

    • darksidecowboy - Jul 3, 2014 at 3:49 PM

      NHL owners want the desperate Quebec expansion fees it will get eventually. If anything it will be Seattle if they ever move.

  6. blomfeld - Jul 3, 2014 at 1:02 AM

    Question: why did they let the 33-year-old forward go ?

    Answer: because no NHL franchise has a ‘hope in hell’ of surviving within a 3 hour drive of Tombstone !


    summary: the sooner Gretzky and crew are arrested and this team is moved to Seattle, the better ! :)

    • anthj99 - Jul 3, 2014 at 12:23 PM

      I think you’ve already achieved legendary status on this website. Keep up the good work. What planet are you from?

  7. canada2014gold - Jul 3, 2014 at 2:02 AM

    I agree in regards to Calgary. They worked their as$ off and that’s all you can ask. Plus it was entertaining hockey, I’ve gained a new found respect for The organization.

  8. pone27 - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:10 AM

    Pretty sure if Vrbata was 26 or something of that age group, a NMC/NT would have been worked out, especially if Radim only wanted 2 years.

    But, when you are talking 5 mil per at the age of 33, the guy has to be expendable. To get stuck with that cap hit for 2 years at that age can become a waste of money if the team is under performing.

    While the Yotes have to find an answer to scoring, they are in no position to gamble blowing cash to do it. Rough time for Arizona fans.

  9. timmylaz99 - Jul 3, 2014 at 10:05 AM

    Does Maloney think he’ll be able to attract any free agents? Refuses to give a no trade on a two year contract to one of the best players the franchise has had over the past few years. Only shows they don’t value their players.

    • avfanforlife - Jul 3, 2014 at 12:39 PM

      That REALLY sounds insane right? They couldn’t give one of their best players a no-trade clause for only 2 years???

      • pone27 - Jul 3, 2014 at 12:55 PM

        At 33 though and 5mil per, to give him a no-trade clause is not smart.

        Vrbata is an excellent player, but with the current state that the team is in, they cannot be giving players making that much a no-trade contract.

        Maloney values players… But he is also smart in that he is seeing what happens when you have a guy who makes 4+mil a year with a no-trade clause. They are not moveable.

        Arizona needs players who are moveable. The roster isn’t stable. If they sign Vrbata, he becomes the piece every team wants in a trade should they become sellers. Also looking further into the roster, all of their big name players (which have high salaries) all have NMC or NTC. Can’t add another one to that piece. Only one who I see who is a great deal is Korpikoski.

  10. frankiesweep - Jul 4, 2014 at 12:21 AM

    He wouldn’t have gotten $5m a year here. Was willing to basically take the same kind of money as previous but wanted the clause.

    As a season ticket holder, this season is over before it began. Onto the Connor McDavid sweepstakes we go. Going to be a loooooong season….

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