Coyotes might let their UFAs walk, Vrbata included
The Arizona Coyotes could be a different-looking team beyond their name change in the 2014-15 season.
After two straight seasons missing the postseason, it sounds like the team is willing to allow most - if not all - of their unrestricted free agents to walk. That much was made clear by reporters including the Arizona Republic’s Sarah McLellan.
It’s not too surprising to ponder the former-Phoenix-Coyotes letting David Moss, Paul Bissonnette and Jeff Halpern go. The most noteworthy potential losses would be forward Radim Vrbata, defenseman Derek Morris and goalie Thomas Greiss.
Morris and Greiss might be as good as gone. McLellan reports that Greiss, 28, is drawing considerable interest from around the NHL.
An update on Greiss' status: Eight teams have reached out to his agent, Ray Petkau, and they're still in talks with a few.— Sarah McLellan (@sarah__mclellan) June 28, 2014
Vrbata might be the most interesting factor of them all. Fox Sports Arizona’s Craig Morgan reports that the 33-year-old could possibly return, although he might also price himself out of Arizona.
That list may include Radim Vrbata, whom Maloney expects to receive substantial offers. Vrbata is indeed generating a lot of interest.— Craig Morgan (@CraigSMorgan) June 28, 2014
Don't count out Radim Vrbata just yet. Remember, public comments from both sides this time of year often contain a good amount of posturing.— Craig Morgan (@CraigSMorgan) June 28, 2014
Vrbata scored 20 goals and 51 points with the ‘Yotes last season. A relatively weak free agent market could indeed make the underrated winger overpaid just like that, but there’s also the notion that his best work comes in the desert.
(For more on Vrbata’s value, consider this from Morgan.)
Aside from Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Mike Smith, there aren’t many Coyotes locked up beyond the 2015-16 season. It seems like the franchise is valuing flexibility over certainty when it comes to contracts, which could mean some key departures come July.