Radim Vrbata: An Elite Goal Scorer in Relative Obscurity

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Radim Vrbata has been one of the most prolific goal-scorers in the NHL over the last two seasons. One particular stat shows just how great he has been.

Radim Vrbata's name is almost never mentioned in discussions about the game's best goal scorers. But the Phoenix Coyotes forward could be considered the 9th best goal scorer in the NHL.

Since the start of the 2011-2012 season, Vrbata has scored 47 goals in 111 games played; meaning he scores .4234 goals per game. The stat in it of itself does not underline the magnitude of what that really means.

Only eight NHL players have scored more goals per game (GPG) over the last two combined seasons (minimum 100 games played) than Vrbata. Those players are: Steven Stamkos (.6846), Evgeni Malkin (.5566), Alex Ovechkin (.5556), James Neal (.5083), Jonathan Toews (.4906), Jeff Carter (.4563), John Tavaras (.4538), and Phil Kessel (.4385).

That's it!

What's even more eye opening, are the players below Vrbata on the GPG chart; players touted for their offensive abilities such as: Ilya Kovalchuk (.4211), Corey Perry (.4194), Logan Couture (.4063), Taylor Hall (.4057), Rick Nash (.4048), Jordan Eberle (.3984), and Patrick Kane (.3566).

It's not surprising that a relatively quiet European player that plays his home games in Glendale, Arizona flies under the radar nationally. But even fans that see him play night in and night out may be surprised by the company Vrbata has put himself in over the last couple years.

On a team with a serious lack of impact forwards, the soon-to-be 32-year-old has helped partially fill that void.

"If I have a guy who's the playmaker, I have no problem," Vrbata told Sarah McLellan of The Arizona Republic, "I will try to get open for him and score goals."

The 2011-2012 season was the Right Wing's fourth season with the Coyotes and it marked the best season of his career. The Czech Republic native scored 35 goals (including 12 game-winners) and 62 points in 77 games that season.

He followed that up with a 12-goal, 28-point lockout-shortened 2012-2013 season.

Vrbata had success with Phoenix even before the 2011-2012 season. In his three prior years with the Coyotes, Vrbata scored 70 goals and 147 points in 237 games.

Entering the final year of his contract, the Coyotes fans hope that Vrbata maintains this level of success and leads his team back to the playoffs for the fourth time in the last five years.

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