Saturday, October 11, 2014

Radim Vrbata: The Canucks' shiniest new toy and his top ten career goals

This guy. And everything he means to the Sedins
this season. Thank goodness. (Flickr: Bridget Samuels)
It's hard to decide which of the Canucks' shiniest new toys -- Radim Vrbata or Ryan Miller -- could end up being more impactful this season. On paper, Miller's Vezina and $6 million salary indicate that the key cog to Vancouver's "New Game" will be in net. But if the season-opener is any indication, Vrbata on the right side of the Sedins is going to give Miller a very healthy run for best off-season signing.

It's not that Vrbata is going to be more valuable than Miller in and of himself. But what Vrbata brings to the Sedins is something that they have so sorely missed in the past few seasons of their gradual statistical decline -- legitimate finish. Last season was many things, but it was not a disaster in net with Lack. The possibility of Vrbata reigniting the Sedins' point-per-game form will ultimately help this team more than the difference between Miller and Lack.

Now, a borderline-high stick, fluke goal against one of the worst defences in the West is hardly reason to start counting on the Sedins for 80 points apiece again. But the early return is a nice and quick appeasement for last season's offensive debacle on the first line.

Vrbata and his four 20-goal campaigns represents the most independently capable player the Canucks have ever brought in to play with the Sedins. For once, a player has an opportunity to rescue Daniel and Hank instead of the reverse.

And so to whet your appetite for what hopes to be the first of an easy 25 (30?) goals on Henrik's wing -- Vrbata's top ten career goals:

Yes, to be fair, this post is likely more aptly named Radim Vrbata's top ten goals post-2009. For the sake of this video, let's just assume that any goals from the first nine years of his career were non-notable, yes? At any rate, it's clear that for as long as YouTube has been keeping track, Vrbata has absolutely oozed offensive instinct. Extra points for having tucked in that goal against Chicago, specifically. And where have we seen that move to the backhand before?

In the past three years, the recipients of the recently-renamed and fan-voted Pavel Bure Most Exciting Player Award have been as follows. David Booth, 16 goals (2011-12). Jannik Hansen, 10 goals (2012-13). Zack Kassian, 14 goals (2013-14). If that doesn't tell you how badly the Canucks have needed someone like Vrbata -- that snipe against Detroit, that breakaway against Columbus and the sheer offensive ability in literally every single one of these goals -- then nothing will.

Welcome to Vancouver, Radim.


*Pavel Bure's Top 10 Career Goals
*Schneider, Raymond, Lapierre & Ballard's Farewell Top 10
*Best of Manny Malhotra
*Alex Burrows' Backhand Deke

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