NHL Free Agency: Coyotes Add Three New Faces, Bring Back Radim Vrbata

The Coyotes didn't do much moving on Friday, but when you look at what the Florida Panthers did on the first day of NHL free agency, who did?

The big add for Phoenix was the acquisition of Mike Smith, former goaltender for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Many wondered if the Coyotes would seek out a bigger name, like Jean-Sebastian Giguere or even Tomas Vokoun, but they went with a bit younger of a commodity in Smith.

It also helps that Smith played with Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett when he was in Dallas, playing behind Marty Turco. It appears that the Coyotes will feel comfortable rolling out a goaltending duo of Smith and Jason LaBarbera, though it's unclear how comfortable fans of the Coyotes will be with that.

Boyd Gordon was another of the three new faces the Coyotes signed on Friday. Gordon spent seven years in our nation's capital, before turning down a deal to return and coming to Phoenix. His stats are nothing overly impressive, but he's a wizard in the faceoff circle, which is something the Coyotes were definitely looking to add, and still are, this summer.

The most intriguing, and perhaps most frustrating signing, of the day was the signing of Vancouver goon Raffi Torres, who has become known more for his illegal hits, more than almost anything else he does on the ice. In 80 games with the Canucks, Torres tallied 134 hits, as well as 29 points.

It's interesting that given the type of player he is, Torres is actually capable of putting up some numbers, which includes a career high 41 in '05-'06. Still, it's interesting that the Coyotes signed a guy like Torres, given their inconsistencies on the penalty kill.

One guy the Coyotes did decide to bring back was forward Radim Vrbata, who re-signed on a three-year deal. Vrbata tallied 48 points in '10-'11, the second highest total in his career. He wasn't healthy for a good chunk of the season, which led to some inconsistencies, but he could be a very productive player in the top six for Phoenix next year with a completely healthy year under his belt.

As we head into Day 2, there is still plenty of work to be done for the Coyotes, especially after losing Vernon Fiddler, Eric Belanger, and Ed Jovanovski to free agency. Look for them to add a bit of defensive depth, but especially take a look at some center options to get deeper in the middle. 

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