Radim Vrbata has played for 6 different NHL teams in his 14 year NHL career. That is an oft-traveled player. I think we are starting to see why the 34 year-old Radim The Dream has been with so many different teams. Jim Benning signed the unrestricted free agent Vrbata to a 2-year $10 million deal almost 2 summers ago. Radim expressed his interest to play with the Sedins as a big reason for signing here. That decision was a golden one as he registered 31 goals and 63 points in 2014-15, including 23 power play points and a +6 rating 5 on 5 in his first season here playing most of the season with the Twins. All that with an average of 16:37 played per game.
Then came this season and it has been a downward spiral for the skilled Czech. He is still averaging the same amount of ice time but isn't getting as much time on the top line. He is now playing on the second line with Bo Horvat and mostly Sven Baertschi. His numbers have plummeted. 11 goals and 11 assists in 48 games so far this season. A -22. -22!! Only Bo Horvat has a worse +/- with a -24 and I guess that kinda explains the problem. Jannik Hansen and the Sedins lead the team in +/-. Vrbata doesn't get much time with the Sedins anymore. I guess the big question is: should Willie Desjardins leave him with the Twins, or is Jannik Hansen's time there well-deserved?
Verby has a 6.7% shooting percentage compared to last year's 11.6% shooting percentage. In 2014-15 he averaged 2:54 of power play time on ice, which was 3rd among forwards behind the Sedins. This season he is averaging 2:58 power play time on ice, again, 3rd among Canucks forwards. He's just not getting the job done, with only 4 goals and 8 pp points in 48 games.
I'm not going to dive into the advanced stats because I don't think I have to. Vrbata does not look as dangerous as he did last season. There is a consistency issue here. Vrbata scored a hat trick against the Sabres on December 7, Since then, he has 2 goals and 5 assists and a -9 rating in his 21 games since the hatty.
Jim Benning has stated that he's not going to jump the gun on a Vrbata (or Dan Hamhuis) trade if the Canucks have success after the All Star break and push for a playoff spot. I wouldn't rush it either. If Radim doesn't play better he is not going to fetch Benning a first round pick in return, as many think he might. Not gonna happen. That doesn't bother me. My real question is:
Wouldn't you just want Benning to flog him regardless? Vrbata is not really an impact player, and has no signs of being an impact playoff performer either. Perhaps it's time to part ways. I wish it wasn't so, but I'm calling a spade a spade.
As a side note: Alex Burrows only had 1 assist in his previous 21 games when I posted this disposable hero post about him on January 13. He now has 2 goals in his last 4 games and looks a lot better out there. That's because he reads NM (sarcasm). Hopefully Vrbata does too because he really needs to step it up and make me eat my words.