Radim Vrbata returns to the desert with one-year pact

by Neil Parker on August 16, 2016
Radim Vrbata - USA TODAY Sports Images

 

Fantasy Impact: The Arizona Coyotes officially signed winger Radim Vrbata to a one-year, $1 million contract Tuesday.

 

The Coyotes added a veteran winger with offensive capabilities who played six years with the organization, including the 2011-12 campaign where he notched a career-high 35 goals. However, the 35-year-old winger is coming off his worst seasons since 2008-09 with just 27 points and an underwhelming 47.9 CorsiFor percentage.

His 6.5 shooting percentage last season is due for improvement, so there is potential for a bounce-back campaign. Still, an uptick in efficiency might not bring him all the way back into fantasy relevance. It's going to take significant progression, and age-35 seasons aren't typically the ripe spot to mine for a rebound campaign.

 

Fantasy Players Impacted: The look of the Coyotes lineup is going to be one of the bigger mysteries leading into the season. Dylan Strome appears set for a top-six role following the Coyotes buying out Antoine Vermette, whereas fellow freshman Christian Dvorak will likely have a tougher shot at legitimate offensive minutes now that Vrbata is in the fold.

Where does Shane Doan slot in? When is Tobias Rieder going to sign?

Martin Hanzal, Max Domi, Anthony Duclair and Strome are top-six locks, but it leaves a complete guessing game for the other two slots. Vrbata and Dvorak could be the two candidates while Doan mans a third-line role with power-play time.

Arizona is certainly a team on the rise with a strong group of youngsters, and Vrbata doesn't necessarily block any of those younger players, he'll just potentially cut into a few of their chances. However, just because Vrbata starts the season in a scoring role doesn't mean he finishes the season in the top-six group, either. The power play is likely where Dvorak and Rieder will lose out, and that is a drain on their fantasy upside (for next season only).

 

Fantasy Players this helps, in order:

1. Vrbata (see his stats, line combos and game logs here)

 

Fantasy Players this hurts, in order:

1. Dvorak (read our scouting notes on Dvorak here)

2. Rieder (see his stats, line combos and game logs here)

3. Doan (see his stats, line combos and game logs here)

 

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