TSN's Pierre LeBrun confirmed Vrbata will sign a one-year contract with the Panthers.
Vrbata, 36, had a solid 2016-17 season, scoring 20 goals and adding 35 assists. His 55 points led the Coyotes by 16 points, and the team finished 27th in goals scored. So losing Vrbata is a major blow for a team that lacked an offensive punch all season long and finished tied for the third-fewest points (70) in the NHL.
On the other hand, it isn't surprising that Vrbata would choose to change locales this offseason. The Coyotes are clearly in a rebuilding mode, and Vrbata was in a position to see a potential contender or big payday this summer. Frankly, it was a bit surprising the Coyotes weren't able to move him at the trade deadline.
Certainly, Vrbata hasn't shown signs of slowing down. In fact, his age has offered him perspective.
"I didn't have any set goals or what I want to achieve," he told Sarah McLellan of AZCentral.com in early April. "When you're younger, there's always that pressure of 'next contract, next contract.' Now, it's more about enjoying the game and being in the right spot and helping the young guys."
Given his continued production, the Panthers will be expecting him to help out in a number of ways in the 2017-18 season.