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In praise of Vrbata, who’s ‘just kind of an assassin’

Jets Canucks Hockey

Vancouver Canucks’ Radim Vrbata (17) shoots against Winnipeg Jets goalie Michael Hutchinson (34) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, March 24, 2015, in Vancouver, British Columbia. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward)


Of all the unrestricted free agents who joined new teams this summer, it’s hard to find one who’s had a bigger impact than Radim Vrbata has with the Vancouver Canucks.

Vrbata scored the game-winner in last night’s 5-2 victory over the Jets. The goal was his 29th of the season. Only nine players in the entire league have more than that.

“He’s just kind of an assassin,” said teammate Chris Higgins, per the Associated Press. “It’s pretty incredible watching him around the net — so much poise and patience. He’s very aware of how much time he has.

“It’s pretty impressive to watch.”

Vrbata signed on July 3 for two years and $10 million. He wasn’t GM Jim Benning’s first choice to provide more scoring, either. That was Jarome Iginla, who chose the Avs instead.

As it turns out, Vrbata hasn’t been such a bad consolation prize.