Should The Phoenix Coyotes Explore A Radim Vrbata Extension?

By Randy Holt
Radim Vrbata
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Coyotes still have a bit of work to do towards improving their roster this summer. They need some help out on the left wing, and Mikkel Boedker is still in need of a new contract as a restricted free agent. When that’s done, perhaps they could look at a contract extension for Radim Vrbata.

Vrbata represents one of the few core offensive pieces that this Coyotes team actually has. Their blue line and goaltending situations are both rock solid. But this is a team without a ton of offensive weapons. So you would imagine that they would want to keep one of the few that they do actually have.

The 2013 season was a bit of a down year for Vrbata, based off of what he had achieved in prior years with the Coyotes. After a 62-point campaign in 2011-12 that included a total of 35 goals, he had only 28 points in the shortened season, finding the back of the net only 12 times.

But goal totals of 24, 19, and 35 in three previous seasons, respectively, makes that down 2013 season the outlier for Vrbata. He finished the year on a high note as well, finding his rhythm towards the end of the regular season, including a hat trick on the final day of the regular season.

Set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, Vrbata’s current contract carries a cap hit of $3 million. He’d certainly be looking for a pretty sizable raise from that, perhaps up into the $4.5 million neighborhood. Then there’s the matter of the years to be worked out as well.

Radim Vrbata isn’t exactly young, but still has plenty of offensive game left at this stage in his career. One would imagine he’d want to remain in a location where he’s had so much success. If there is mutual interest in an extension, a deal would make plenty of sense for both sides to look into sooner, rather than later.

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