Radim Vrbata was one of the top free agents left on the market after the first two days of free agency, but the right winger is no longer looking for a new home after signing a two-year deal with the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday morning.
The two-year deal is worth $10 million according to TSN’s Darren Dreger and carries an average annual value of $5 for purposes of the salary cap.
Vrbata, 33, has spent the past five seasons with the Phoenix Coyotes and had 20 goals and 51 points in 2013-14. His best season came in 2011-2012 when he had 35 goals and 62 points. Vrbata is a safe bet to be a 20-goal scorer for the Canucks, who will need to replace the production lost in the Ryan Kesler draft-day trade, and has reached that plateau five times during his career.
Vrbata has played for the Colorado Avalanche, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning in his career after the Avalanche used a seventh round pick on the Czech native in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft.
The Coyotes hopes to keep Vrbata in the place where he has enjoyed the most success in his career, but he received a better deal on the market than what the club was likely willing to offer.
“I had several communications with Radim directly,” general manager Don Maloney told azcentral.com via NHL.com. “He wanted to stay, was very, very flexible in what we were talking about. So the answer is yes, I thought there was a very good chance under those terms that we would be able to keep him.
“He’s been a good soldier for us. I have no hard feelings. He got himself what I think is a very good deal, and that’s good for him and his family.”