Radim Vrbata will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and the Arizona Coyotes need to decide if they will bring back the streaky winger.
This past season, Vrbata was penciled into a top-six role alongside Martin Hanzal for the majority of the Coyotes' 2013-14 campaign. Some fans, bloggers and media members would argue that Vrbata played some of his best hockey of his career this season, too.
Now, the question we all need to ask ourselves is, how much does Vrbata expect to be paid? He's coming off a three-year deal, worth $9 million ($3 million per year) and in that time, he tallied 141 points in 191 games. Some say he's worth $3.25 million, and some say he's worth $3.5 million plus. Personally, I would offer Vrbata $3.25 million on a two-year deal.
Quickly thinking, here are two options outside of Arizona for the soon-to-be 33-year-old.
Pittsburgh Penguins - With changes already happening in Pittsburgh (General Manager Ray Shero was let go on Friday), I can see them making a run for Vrbata. The Penguins are in need for some extra top-nine talent, and Vrbata would fit perfectly in that role.
San Jose Sharks - The Sharks announced on Thursday they will not re-sign Dan Boyle and Marty Havlat will most-likely be bought out. With Havlat on his way out, I can see the Sharks offering Vrbata a deal. He will come as a cheap, but effective replacement.
In 80 games with the Yotes this past season, Vrbata put up 51 points (20 goals, 31 assists).
Wether or not Vrbata is back next season remains to be seen, but if he does sign elsewhere, the Coyotes will surely miss him.