posted on July 21, 2014 10:09
The St. Louis Blues announced Monday morning that forward Vladimir Sobotka has been awarded a one-year contract through arbitration. The terms of his new deal, worth $2.725 million per Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch, will be enforced when he returns from his stint with the Avangard Omsk in the KHL.
"We are looking forward to having Vladimir in a Blues uniform when he returns to the NHL," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said in a statement. "We wish him the best of luck in the upcoming season."
The 27-year old forward registered a career-high nine goals as a Blues in 2013-14 and led the league in face-off winning percentage at 61.9 percent. He was also selected to represent the Czech Republic in the Winter Olympics, but an ill-timed leg injury prevented him from participating.
Sobotka's three-year contract in the KHL will pay him a reported $4 million per year, but it does include an out clause which allows him to leave after each of the first two years. The current NHL CBA dictates that if and when he returns to the League, he will have to honor his contract. However, the Blues can trade his rights to another organization if they so choose.
"I just tried to give him our point of view on why coming back here even on a one-year deal would be beneficial to all parties involved," Armstrong said of his initial contract negotiations. "We really like our situation, like our team, but ultimately, he has to—he was dealing with two leagues. I'm dealing with one and I have to work under the parameters given in this League. I wanted to stretch to the absolute end of fairness under our collective bargaining agreement, but I can't and I don't think we should be asked to negotiate against the KHL."
Brian Haenchen is a three-sport columnist for InsideSTL. Follow him on Twitter: @Brian_Haenchen