Radim Vrbata Reportedly Agrees to Contract with Panthers After 1 Year on Coyotes

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJuly 1, 2017

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 26:  Radim Vrbata #17 of the Arizona Coyotes celebrates with teammates on the bench after scoring a goal against the Buffalo Sabres during the third period of the NHL game at Gila River Arena on February 26, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Sabres 3-2.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Former Arizona Coyotes winger Radim Vrbata agreed to terms on a deal with the Florida Panthers on Saturday, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman.

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.


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