Report: Blues’ Vladimir Sobotka may have signed with KHL

  • Marcus Burnan
USA TODAY Sports

USA TODAY Sports

It is being reported by multiple sources including USA TODAY Sports, that St. Louis Blues forward Vladimir Sobotka may have signed with Kontinental Hockey League side Avangard Omsk.

Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said he could neither confirm or deny whether Sobotka had indeed left for the Russian-based KHL, but he said that is what he though had occurred.

“In late May, early June, I heard that the KHL might be an option that he might consider,” Armstrong said on a conference call. “We certainly take that at face value and we negotiated trying to get him to sign here.”

Sobotka  is a restricted free agent and is one of three players being taken to arbitration by their teams.  The Blues decided to do this after Sobotka changed his agent for the second time.  This prompted the Blues to attempt to protect the rights of their player in the event he left.  Hearing is set for 21st July.

Armstrong said that the Blues had offered Sobotka a one- or two-year contract worth about $3 million. but said the offeres were ignored.

“Our last offers were a one-year deal at 2.7 or a two-year deal at 3 million. Those haven’t gotten it done at this point.”

Armstong said that the team are moving forward.

“We’re moving forward that we’re going to go through that arbitration, an award will be given and that will be a contract for the ’14-15 season,” Armstrong said. “We hope that he will be in training camp under that contract. If he’s in the KHL, that contract will toll (carry forward) until future years.”

If Sobotka has indeed gone to the KHL, Armstrong said he understood.

“I can’t, and I don’t think we should be asked to, negotiate against the KHL,” he said.

The 27-year old Czech left-winger had a good season in 2013-14 for the Blues, scoring nine goals and 25 assists in 61 games.  He had 33 points total and a plus/minus of 14.

The uncertainty surrounding Sobotka prompted the Blues to re-sign free agent Steve Ott on a two-year, $5.2 million deal.

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