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Radim Vrbata leaves Coyotes, signs with Florida Panthers

Arizona Coyotes right wing Radim Vrbata (17) skates back to the bench after scoring a goal against Colorado Avalanche goalie Calvin Pickard, left, during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Free agent forward Radim Vrbata has completed his third stint with the Arizona Coyotes after the right wing reportedly signed with the Florida Panthers on Saturday.

Vrbata, 36, played for the Coyotes three separate times for a total of seven seasons.

With 15 NHL seasons under his belt, Vrbata totaled more than 30 points in a season 11 times, most recently doing so last year with 20 goals and 25 assists with the Coyotes.

He played for Phoenix during the 2007-08 season, then again from 2009 to 2014, and once more on a one-year deal last year. Vrbata also has made stops in Colorado, Carolina, Chicago, Tampa Bay and Vancouver.

In talking with Arizona Sports’ Craig Morgan, Coyotes general manager John Chayka hinted at Vrbata’s departure earlier this week.

“We have some interest,” Chayka said of Vrbata. “We’ve got an understanding of where he’s at. I think his agent’s approach is to see where the market sets again, which is OK by us. He had a great year but we’re in the business of paying for future performance, not past performance. There’s a lot of good young players that we have for options, there’s some other free agents that we’re looking at and the trade market is still extremely active.”

The deal is for a reported $2.5 million, plus another $1.25 million in performance incentives.

The Panthers have some holes to fill on offense, having recently lost Jonathan Marchessault (30 G, 21 A in 2016-17) in the expansion draft, Reilly Smith (15 G, 22 A in 2016-17) in an expansion draft trade and Jaromir Jagr (18 G, 30 A in 2016-17) to free agency.

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