According to Craig Morgan of AZSports, free agent forward Radim Vrbata is nearing a one-year deal to return to the Arizona Coyotes. Vrbata spent six seasons with the Coyotes before signing with the Vancouver Canucks prior to the 2014-15 season. The terms of the deal have not been reported, and the Coyotes have yet to confirm the signing.
Sources: Free-agent forward Radim Vrbata is nearing a 1-year deal with the Coyotes. Story soon on @AZSports
— Craig Morgan (@craigsmorgan) August 15, 2016
In Vrbata’s first season with the Canucks, the veteran winger managed to score 31 goals and 63 points in 79 games. A dip in usage and production saw his points slip in his second year, however, as he scored only 13 goals and 27 points in 63 games.
Once a highly touted free agent, Vrbata is now 35-years-old. Coupling his age and his dip in production last season together saw the veteran slip past the first few waves of free agency.
Vrbata’s success next season will likely determine whether or not the Czech Republic native find himself with a new deal in 2017-18. The NHL is trending towards a younger, quicker game, but the value of having a veteran presence in the locker room on inexpensive deals are never underestimated. Vrbata could provide that exact trait to a locker room filled with young players; a fact not lost on Coyotes’ general manager John Chayka.