-- More than a few players have flown out of Phoenix at their first opportunity, even after making the playoffs in back-to-back seasons.
"It's just very rare that you'll get someone who flat out says, 'I want to stay. I'll stay. I'll give you a discount to stay. Please sign me!' I was smiling, thinking we were going to get a smoking deal, but at the end of the day we got a fair deal. It wasn't a blue-light special or anything." -- Don Maloney
And coming off a 19-goal season with a career-high 29 assists, right wing Radim Vrbata
figured to be an attractive target when he hit unrestricted free agency this past July. But before that talk had a chance to get started, Vrbata took a curious path, telling everyone he didn't want to go anywhere.
Vrbata wanted to stay in Phoenix and was willing to take less than market value to make it happen.
"It's very rare to have a player publicly declare he wants to stay like that," said Coyotes general manager Don Maloney
. "We really tried to get a good deal on him. Would we have liked to have paid less? Sure. But at the end of the day it wound up being a fair deal. There was another team right there in the running, but the fact he wanted to stay played in our favor."
Vrbata didn't exactly put his agent, Rich Evans, in the catbird's seat, but he got what he wanted -- a three-year deal averaging the same $3 million he made last season. And as happy as Vrbata is with the deal, the Coyotes might be smiling even wider.