The Vancouver Canucks have signed former Arizona Coyotes forward Radim Vrbata to a two-year contract, $10-million contract, per published reports on Thursday. Vrbata had spent the last five-seasons with the Coyotes and the decision to leave Arizona was difficult.
"For sure, it's tough to leave," Vrbata said in an AZCentral.com report on July 3. "It's no secret how I felt about my time in Phoenix and how much I appreciated everybody – from Don to Tip (coach Dave Tippett) to the players and trainers, PR people and everybody around the team. The people around the team made it hard for me to decide and maybe to consider this thing we were trying to do with Don. But in the end, this offer and the interest and desire from Vancouver to get me, that was something I couldn't pass on."
In 80-games last season Vrbata scored 20-goals and dished out 31-assists. The 33-year old, Czechoslovakia native, was the third leading scoring for the Coyotes in 2013-14. Vrbata's offensive production will be truly missed by a Coyotes squad that was 20th in the NHL in scoring last season.
Vrbata was originally drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in the 7th round, 212th overall, in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. In 12-seasons he has suited up with the Avalanche in two separate stints, he also had two separate tours with the Carolina Hurricanes and the Coyotes. He briefly played for the Tampa Bay Lightning and he also called Chicago home.
In 792 regular season games Vrbata has scored 215-goals, dished out 249-assists for 464 career points. His best season came with the Coyotes in 2011-12 when he scored a career high 35-goals and had a personal best 62-points.