Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Chance to Play with Sedins Helped Vrbata Choose to Sign with Canucks

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Chance to Play with Sedins Helped Vrbata Choose to Sign with Canucks

Article excerpt

Vrbata to get chance to play with Sedins


Other teams probably could have offered Radim Vrbata $10 million over two years. What the Vancouver Canucks had that the competition didn't was the chance to play with Daniel and Henrik Sedin.

So when general manager Jim Benning suggested it, Vrbata took it as another reason to sign with the Canucks.

"He was saying that they were looking for somebody to play with Sedins and that they think I could be the guy," Vrbata said on a conference call Thursday. "I feel like with the way they play and the way they see the game, it's something that would probably suit my game. Yeah, it was real interesting to have that chance."

It'll be up to coach Willie Desjardins to form the lines, Benning said, but it was part of the plan to give Vrbata an opportunity with the Sedins. Benning likes that Vrbata can read plays and jump into holes.

Vrbata, who had 20 goals and 31 assists in his final season with the defensive-minded Arizona Coyotes, will be counted on to produce more if he's Vancouver's top-line right-winger. He doesn't mind that pressure.

"If you play with players like Sedins, you know that you will get your chances," Vrbata said. "When I think about the way they play, that kind of suits my game, I think. They like lots of give-and-go's and they like to get open for each other. I think that's something that I like to do, too."

The addition of Vrbata could push Alex Burrows out of that spot. The 33-year-old who had been a regular linemate with the Sedins since 2010 had just five goals and 10 assists in 49 games this past season.

Benning sees Burrows as the second-line right-winger alongside centre Nick Bonino -- acquired from the Anaheim Ducks in the Ryan Kesler trade -- and either Zack Kassian or Jannik Hansen.

"We want to have balance amongst our four lines. We want to have scoring, we want to have scoring depth," Benning said. "Now we have depth at the forward positions where every line can contribute in the scoring, and that's one of the things that we set out to do. …

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