Report: Vrbata leaves Lightning, returns to Czech Republic

According to Canadian sports network TSN, Radim Vrbata is done with the Tampa Bay Lightning this season and will return to the Czech Republic to finish the season there.

Vrbata signed a three-year, $9 million deal with Tampa Bay in the off-season, but apparently the Lightning will not be responsible for paying him the rest of this year’s salary, though the remaining years of the deal will remain if he chooses to return to the club.

“Radim is a great guy and he came into our office on Sunday morning and just told us his confidence is low and he would like to head home to the Czech Republic to finish the season,” Lightning owner Oren Koules told TSN. “He just wants to take the rest of the year off (from the NHL) and try to get his game back over there. If he wants to come back next season, great. That’s his call. This is all very amicable. He’s a great guy who’s really struggling right now.”

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The Lightning put Vrbata on waivers Monday. He has managed to score only three goals this season after posting a career-high 27 last season with Phoenix.

Tampa Bay also put center Chris Gratton on waivers Monday after the team re-signed him to a one-year deal in July. Gratton has managed only two assists in 18 games this season.