Free agent forward Radim Vrbata has signed with the Florida Panthers. The 35-year-old has put together an impressive career that has likely flown under the radar based on where he has played. He’ll join the Panters and become a spark as a top six forward.
Radim Vrbata has agreed to a one-year deal with Florida
Vrbata in Florida: one year, $2.5 M base salary plus $1.25 M in performances bonuses
Radim Vrbata Signs with TEAM
Drafted 212th overall in 1999, Vrbata made his NHL debut in the 2001-02 season and tallied 30 points in 52 games as a member of the Colorado Avalanche. Since his rookie season, he has never looked back. This season he hit two big career milestones. He laced up the skates in his 1000th career game and hit 600 career points.
Vrbata has also had two 30 goal seasons over the course of his career with 35 in the 2011-12 season and most recently with the Vancouver Canucks in 2014-15, where he notched 31 goals and a career best 63 points.
In 81 games this season he registered 20 goals and 55 points . It isn’t often that you see a franchise let go of their top point-getting player, but this move should come as no surprise. On a one year, $3.25 million, deal last year, he was not going to be a key piece in the Coyotes rebuild. They are going to finish this decade relying on the promise that the trio of Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Tobias Rieder, and Max Domi bring.
Vrbata replaces Jaromir Jagr who was the resident veteran right wing on the Panthers. It was announced earlier today that the team would not re-sign Jagr.
GLENDALE, AZ – DECEMBER 21: Radim Vrbata #17 of the Arizona Coyotes skates with the puck ahead of Brandon Davidson #88 of the Edmonton Oilers during the first period of the NHL game at Gila River Arena on December 21, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)