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Vrbata’s asking price high, Coyotes expect he’ll go to market

Phoenix Coyotes v Nashville Predators

NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 10: Radim Vrbata #17 of the Phoenix Coyotes warms up prior to a game against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on April 10, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

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Sounds as though Radim Vrbata’s time in the desert will soon be up.

Vrbata, who scored a career-high 35 goals for the Coyotes two years ago, looks as though he’ll be testing free agency tomorrow, per Fox Sports Arizona:

When asked specifically if the Gagner trade closed the door on a return by wing Radim Vrbata, [GM Don] Maloney said the Coyotes would love to have him back, but the asking price is currently too high.

Vrbata is believed to be seeking a three-to-four year deal at an average annual value of $4.5 million. Given the Coyotes’ financial constraints and Vrbata’s age (33) that is probably too much.

Vrbata just wrapped the last of a three-year, $9 million deal so it’s not overly surprising he’s looking for a significant pay bump in what looks to be a relatively thin draft year. In terms of UFA goalscoring wingers, Vrbata’s right up there -- he had 20 goals or more in four of his six seasons in Arizona and, during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign, scored 12 times in 34 games...which works out to 28 over an 82-game season.

It also sounds as though teams are ready to pounce on the Czech sniper. Per Sportsnet, “as many as six teams are serious” in acquiring Vrbata’s services.

There’s also this, from ESPN:

7-8 teams interested in UFA winger Radim Vrbata but Coyotes also remain in mix. Arizona and Vrbata camp should speak again before Tuesday

— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) June 30, 2014