Radim Vrbata has often been called a streaky player. I am not one to disagree with this statement. He always seems to score in bunches. He may go eight to 10 games without a goal but then will get four or five over the next few games. This in no way diminishes what he has done for the Coyotes over the past few seasons. He is definitely talented and calm on the ice; I just wish he would be more consistent with goals.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of Vrbata. He has done a lot for this team, especially this year. His patented shootout move won us a few games, although goalies have him figured out. I’d like to see him come up with a new move. That works. He works well with Hanzal, helping to shut down some good lines. He has good chemistry with Ray Ray (who also has done a lot for this team this year). I think I just want more consistency… from the whole team.
Vrbata was drafted in 1999 by the Colorado Avalanche, 212th overall. He played 2001-2002 and part of 2002-2003 with the Avs before being traded to Carolina Hurricanes. He played with the Hurricanes through 05-06 and then was traded to the Blackhawks. Chicago traded him to Phoenix in 2007 for Kevyn Adams. I’d say we won that trade. I was never a fan of Adams time here.
After playing a year here Vrbata became a free agent. He decided to test the waters and signed with the Lightning. A lot of Coyotes fans were upset but we just thought the grass isn’t always greener. Who knew how right we would be?
Vrbata never really did much in Tampa Bay. After a few games in Tampa, he left for Czech as his wife was having difficulties with her pregnancy. While in Czech he did still play hockey for his local team. Once everything was ok with his family (thankfully both wife and baby were ok) he decided to rejoin the NHL. The Lightning didn’t need him and let his agent (whom I met randomly) work out a trade. He ended up back in Phoenix and returned to his comfort zone.
For whatever reason, Vrbata has excelled as a Coyote compared to his other teams. Until joining the Coyotes he never had over 20 goals in a season.
2001-2002 Avs 18
2002-2003 Avs 11 Hurricanes 5 Total 16
2003-2004 Hurricanes 12
2005-2006 Hurricanes 2 Blackhawks 13 Total 15
2006-2007 Blackhawks 14
2007-2008 Coyotes 27
2008-2009 Lightning 3
2009-2010 Coyotes 24
2010-2011 Coyotes 19
2011-2012 Coyotes 30 (and still counting?)
Obviously his goal production in 2010-2011 is the lowest he’s had with the Coyotes (an anomaly?) but he is having a career year currently. Maybe he has gotten better with age. Some players take longer to develop than others. I don’t know why he scored more goals as a Coyote than on any other team, as under Gretzky there was no system, but I like it. He is currently signed through the end of 2013-2014. If he keeps up these type of numbers I would like to see him resigned. He would still have a few good years left in 2013 baring injury of course. I cannot see Maloney trading him unless he gets a more consistent goal scorer. Anything less than a 20-30 goal scorer would leave a huge whole on the right wing side.
The one thing I always think about Vrby is his crazy eyes. I wrote in this post about it when he got him back from Tampa. Obviously I have gotten over my distrust. I believe he wants to be here in Phoenix and knows it is a good place for him. And here is said picture I reference:
And in case you think this is just a one time, crazy eye picture I present:
And yes those are both roster pics but do a google image search for Radim. Almost every picture has the crazy eyes.
Also, who knew Vrby has a little artist in him. I posted this previously, with all the Christmas Cards, but in case you forgot:
I also wrote a song about Radim before. Yes, I used to write songs about hockey players to the tune of other songs. Somewhere I still have a Shane Doan song I started but never finished… I digress. Some of Vrbata’s song still applies today. Like the chorus:
Come on Radim, you need a goal
At this moment, you need to score
With you in that sweater my thoughts I confess
Verge on scoring Ah come on Radim
Yes Vrby, it has been awhile again since you had a goal. I’d love to see one when you are back and healthy.
So in conclusion, the Coyotes make Vrbata better. Coyotes fans love Vrbata but wish he would score more (or maybe more consistently). And he has crazy eyes. The end.