Vladimir Sobotka terminated his KHL contract on Wednesday, and signed a three-year extension with the St. Louis Blues on Thursday. The contract is worth $10.5 million, for an AAV of $3.5 million per season. The annual salary is just around what he asked for before leaving the Blues in 2014. He will join the Blues and play out the rest of this season under the one-year arbitration award that was handed down three years ago.
BREAKING: #stlblues confirm Sobotka is coming back, signing a 3-year, $10.5 million extension ($3.5 AAV). He'll meet the team in Carolina.
Vladimir Sobotka Signs Three Years with the St. Louis Blues
Sobotka left the team due to a disagreement over salary. He’s spent the last three years in the KHL, playing for Omsk Avangard. He played in a total of 138 KHL games during that three-year span, putting up 108 points for Avangard. Sobotka had 37 goals and 71 assists, This season alone he tallied 21 assists and 30 points in 41 games.
The Blues are under a lot of fire for the re-signing. A lot of fans have seen Sobotka as not very influential during his time in the team’s roster. Others claim he lacks commitment considering his departure. While there may be some truth to the second statement, the numbers show that Sobotka was in fact a key player in St. Louis during his four seasons there. Centering the third line, Sobotka averaged 16 minutes and five seconds of ice time a game; seven seconds more than current third line Patrik Berglund is averaging.
During those four seasons, Sobotka played in 247 games. He had a total of 72 assists and 101 total points. In his last season, at the age of 26, Sobotka turned in a career high of 33 points. He also set a career high of nine goals.
Sobotka is coming back to a very competitive Blues roster. Players like Nail Yakupov and Dmitrij Jaskin are both fighting for spots, and the recent success of Magnus Paajarvi, Zach Sanford, and Ivan Barbashev adds to that competition. Luckily for Sobotka all five players are comfortable watching a few games from the press box. The only real competition Sobotka will have is that posed by Barbashev and Berglund, two centers that have sparked some life in the Blues bottom six.
Sobotka is set to join the team in Carolina on Saturday. Although no specific lines have been released, it wouldn’t be too unlikely to see Sobotka take Jaskin’s spot alongside Jori Lehtera and Paajarvi. The Blues only have two games left in their regular season, and will want to build some chemistry in their lines going into the playoffs. This gives Sobotka a very limited chance to prove himself, but he could do that by simply playing hard both games.