The Arizona Coyotes have recently announced that they have re-acquired winger Radim Vrbata. This will be Vrbata’s third stint in the desert.
Vrbata’s deal is just for one season with a base salary of $1 million. The Coyotes have also included a slew of points and goals related incentives that could make the deal worth $3.25 million.
For both sides, this is a good deal. Vrbata is comfortable playing in Arizona as he expressed to Fox Sports, “I’m very excited to rejoin the Coyotes. My family and I love living in Arizona and I’m really looking forward to helping this team win. We never really wanted to leave.”
On the Coyotes side of things, they get a veteran goal scorer and a longtime fan favorite on a short and cheap deal. The worst case scenario, Vrbata under performs but that still allows for another year of development for prospects in the farm system. If he performs well, he helps the team and the youngsters already on the NHL club grow their game.
If Vrbata performs well, the team is open to bringing him back on an even longer deal as General Manager John Chayka said to Fox Sports, “If he plays well, it will be more than one year.”
The contract incentives are a good way to push a player, but for Vrbata, he can still perform at a high level. When he joined the Vancouver Canucks after leaving the Coyotes, he posted a career high in points at 63 scoring 31 goals. The very next season however, he under performed only notching 40 points.
There is a caveat to the drop in points though. Vrbata was taken away from his line with the Sedin twins and placed on an ineffective line. The Coyotes current team is much different than the one he was on when he left. There is a lot of emerging skill in the desert now and Vrbata should be able to fit right in and not only compliment it, but feed off of and benefit from it.