ST. LOUIS - Vladimir Sobotka will return to St. Louis for the upcoming 2016-17 season.
“We’re very excited to have him back in the fold,” Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong said. “I honestly never wanted him to leave.”
Sobotka played in 247 games with the Blues from 2010-2014 and filed for arbitration after the 2013-14 season. He was awarded a one-year contract worth $2.725 million, but shortly after, signed a three-year deal with Omsk Avangard of the Kontintenal Hockey League, where he’s played the last two seasons.
“We wanted to pay him his NHL value, but he had an opportunity to go get his KHL value and those were different,” Armstrong said. “I respect that. It was a business decision. Now he’s ready to come back to the NHL and we’re excited to have him.”
Sobotka accumulated 72 points (28 goals, 44 assists) in 97 regular season games over the last two years with Omsk Avangard. In four seasons as a Blue, the Trebic, Czech Republic native has tallied 101 points (29 goals, 72 assists) and 218 penalty minutes.
This summer, Sobotka managed to get out of the remaining season of his KHL contact to return to St. Louis, where he will honor his one-year deal with the Blues.
“I think he fits right into our team,” Armstrong said. “He knows a lot of the people here, he knows the coach. He comes back probably playing a different role - I think we’re going to see a different or better player. In the NHL, he wasn’t asked to play offensive situations, but in the KHL he had to be an offensive player. I think we’ll see someone whose game has matured and developed and he’s going to be a really good fit for us.”
In 381 career NHL regular seasons, Sobotka has tallied 123 points (35 goals, 88 assists). In 40 career postseason games, he has three goals and nine assists.