GLENDALE, Ariz. — Radim Vrbata walked into a room full of reporters and photographers at Gila River Arena this September and was met by a lot of familiar faces in the Phoenix media after signing with the Arizona Coyotes – again.
This season marks the beginning of Vrbata’s third stint with the Coyotes in a 15-year NHL career.
Before the 2007-08 season, the right wing from the Czech Republic was traded by the Chicago Blackhawks to what were then the Phoenix Coyotes. A year later, he signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning, but returned to the Valley after just one season in Tampa to play five more seasons with the Coyotes.
Then, as a 33-year-old free agent in 2014, Vrbata inked a two-year deal with the Vancouver Canucks.
Now, he’s back in the desert.
“It feels like coming back home, it really does,” Vrbata said. “You see familiar faces and the guys that you played with on the team that were drafted back then and in training camp, so it feels really good to be back.”