Radim Vrbata set for third tour of duty with Arizona Coyotes

Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images
Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images

Radim Vrbata had the worst non-lockout/non-injury derailed year of his career since 2003-04 last season with the Vancouver Canucks. So like he’s done before, he’s going back to Arizona to turn things around.

According to Craig Morgan of Arizona Sports, Vrbata is set to return to the Coyotes on a one-year deal. He spent the last two seasons in Vancouver after five years with the Coyotes. Per Craig Custance of ESPN, the deal will be worth $1 million plus bonuses.

This will be the 35-year-old Vrbata’s third stint with the franchise. After a 27-goal, 56-point season in 2007-08, he left for the Tampa Bay Lightning on a three-year deal. A family situation caused him to leave to go back to his native Czech Republic in December of 2008 for the remainder of the season. When he decided on an NHL return the following year, the team dealt him back to the Coyotes where he’d average 22 goals a season while becoming one of the NHL’s top shootout performers.

Last month Vrbata’s agent told Morgan that if his client didn’t receive an offer come mid-August, the forward was ready to play the season in Europe of even hang up his skates.

With a number of kids set to continue their maturation up front, bringing a veteran like Vrbata in on one-year deal should bode well for both sides, especially given that Arizona is a place where he’s had the majority of career success. He’ll come cheap and motivated for a bounce back season while the Coyotes assume a low risk hoping for a big reward here.

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!