Radim Vrbata (born 13 June 1981) is a Czech former professional ice hockey right winger. He had a 16-year career in the National Hockey League (NHL). Vrbata was originally drafted in 1999 by the Colorado Avalanche, with whom he has also played, along with the Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Arizona Coyotes, Tampa Bay Lightning, Vancouver Canucks and Florida Panthers during his NHL career.
Vrbata in 2014
13 June 1981|
Mladá Boleslav, Czechoslovakia
|Height||6 ft 1 in (185 cm)|
|Weight||190 lb (86 kg; 13 st 8 lb)|
Bílí Tygři Liberec
Tampa Bay Lightning
|National team||Czech Republic|
212th overall, 1999|
Vrbata was drafted in the seventh round, 212th overall, by the Colorado Avalanche in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. He won the 2001 World Junior Championship and the 2005 IIHF World Championship with the Czech Republic. He played his first game in February of 2002 against the New york Islanders, then scored his first NHL goal against the Rangers a night later. He finished his rookie season with 18 goals and 12 assists, mainly playing with Peter Forsberg and Joe Sakic.
In March 2003, Vrbata was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for Bates Battaglia, later being acquired by the Chicago Blackhawks on 30 December 2005, in exchange for future considerations. After two subpar seasons with Chicago, he was traded to the Phoenix Coyotes on 11 August 2007, for Kevyn Adams. During his first year in Phoenix, he set career highs in goals, assists and led the team in scoring.
On 1 July 2008, Vrbata, as a free agent, signed a three-year contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning. After starting the 2008–09 season out of form and citing confidence issues, and the fact that his wife was having difficulty during pregnancy, Vrbata asked and was granted permission to return home to the Czech Republic on 8 December 2008. On 2 January 2009, he joined his hometown team, BK Mladá Boleslav. Vrbata's stint with Boleslav, however, was cut short when he was sent on loan to Bílí Tygři Liberec on 29 January 2009.
After finishing the season in the Czech Republic, Vrbata advised the Lightning he intended to return to the NHL for the second year of his contract for the 2009–10 season. Having already filled Vrbata's spot on the team's roster, however, Tampa Bay had no interests in retaining Vrbata and his agent, Rich Evans, was subsequently given permission to orchestrate a trade with another NHL organization. Thus, on 21 July 2009, Vrbata was traded back to the Coyotes in exchange for David Hale and Todd Fedoruk for a second stint with the team. He would total 43 goals in his next two seasons with the team, coupled with four Stanley Cup playoff goals as Phoenix qualified for the playoffs in both 2010 and 2011, losing both times to the Detroit Red Wings.
On 21 February 2012, Vrbata scored two goals in a 5–4 shootout victory over the Los Angeles Kings. His second goal gave him 30 on the season, a career high. He would finish the 2011–12 season with a career-high 35 goals in which he led the entire NHL in game-winners, with 12.
On 2 July 2014, Vrbata signed as an unrestricted free agent to a two-year, $10 million contract with the Vancouver Canucks. Vrbata stated the opportunity to play with the Sedin twins was a large factor in his decision. In his first season in Vancouver, 2014–15, Vrbata enjoyed a career year, finishing the regular season with 63 points from 78 games, besting his previous 62-point career-high season in 2011–12. He also led the Canucks in goals scored with 31, his second-highest single-season career total behind the 35 he scored in 2011–12.
In the final year of his contract with the Canucks, Vrbata endured a disappointing 2015–16 season, producing just 27 points in his lowest offensive totals since 2009. As a free agent in the following off-season, Vrbata opted to return for a third stint with the Arizona Coyotes, agreeing to a one-year, $1 million bonus laden contract on 16 August 2016.
During the 2016–17 season, on 25 November 2016, Vrbata became the NHL's all-time leader in shootout goals. In his return to Arizona, Vrbata led the club with 20 goals and 55 points in 81 games.
On 7 April 2018, Vrbata announced his retirement from professional hockey after 16 seasons.
Regular season and playoffsEdit
|1997–98||TJ Auto Škoda Mladá Boleslav||CZE.2 Jr||35||42||31||73||4||—||—||—||—||—|
|2004–05||Bílí Tygři Liberec||ELH||45||18||21||39||91||12||3||2||5||0|
|2008–09||Tampa Bay Lightning||NHL||18||3||3||6||8||—||—||—||—||—|
|2008–09||BK Mladá Boleslav||ELH||11||5||3||8||18||—||—||—||—||—|
|2008–09||Bílí Tygři Liberec||ELH||7||7||2||9||2||3||0||1||1||2|
|2012–13||BK Mladá Boleslav||CZE.2||2||1||1||2||0||—||—||—||—||—|
|Representing Czech Republic|
|World Junior Championships|
- "Tampa Bay adds Vrbata from Phoenix". Canadian Press. 1 July 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2008.
- "Vrbata heading home". TSN. 8 December 2008. Retrieved 8 December 2008.
- "Radim Vrbata returns to play". (in czech) hockey.idnes.cz. 2 January 2009. Retrieved 2 January 2009.
- "Bili acquire Vrbata on Loan from Boleslav". (in czech) hcbilitygri.cz. 29 January 2009. Retrieved 9 January 2009.
- "Tampa Bay Lightning has no interest in returning right wing Radim Vrbata". TampaBay.com. 10 July 2009. Archived from the original on 14 July 2009. Retrieved 23 July 2009.
- "Vrbata traded back to Coyotes". CBC. 21 July 2009. Retrieved 23 July 2009.
- "Coyotes prevail over Kings". National Hockey League. 21 February 2012. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
- "Canucks sign Radim Vrbata". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2 July 2014. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
- "Vrbat with Sekeras and Price interview". soundcloud.com. 25 September 2014. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
- "Coyotes sign Vrbata to one-year contract". Arizona Coyotes. 16 August 2016. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
- "Vrbata signs one-year contract with Panthers". Sportsnet.ca. 1 July 2017. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
- DeFranks, Matthew. "Panthers forward Radim Vrbata finishes NHL career with final game Saturday". SunSentinel.com. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
- "Radim Vrbata player profile". Eliteprospects.com. 2 January 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2013.