Forward signs $3.9 million deal, joins Berglund,
Polak, Nikitin as impending RFA's to resign
By LOUIE KORAC
ST. LOUIS -- Another of the Blues' restricted free agent dominoes fell on Wednesday.
In a move speculated recently finally became a formality when the team reached agreement on a three-year, $3.9 million contract extension with forward Vladimir Sobotka.
Sobotka, who will turn 24 on July 2, will make $1.2 million for the upcoming season, $1.3 million in 2012-13 and $1.4 million in 2013-14.
The Trebic, Czech Republic native set career highs in points (29), goals (seven), assists (22) and games played (65) this past season with the Blues, his first since being acquired from the Boston Bruins in exchange for the rights to defenseman David Warsofsky at last season's NHL Entry Draft.
Sobotka's ability to play consistently at both ends of the ice was something the Blues were not willing to part ways with, especially with a player at a young age who's expected to continue to mature and skillfully progress.
"One of the things I respect about Vladi is his versatility," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said. "It's like dressing two players on a lot of nights. He can play left wing on your top line, be an anchor on your bottom two (lines), power play, kill penalties ... he's real versatile.
"You need two or three guys like that on a roster. I also think at his age, he's defined himself and we know what he's going to do now. He'll be able to provide more offense as he matures. But the type of player he is, he exemplifies what we want to be on the ice as competitors."
Sobotka, who could have been a RFA July 1, joins center Patrik Berglund and defensemen Roman Polak and Nikita Nikitin to resign prior to becoming RFA's. The team has also resigned forwards T.J. Hensick (RFA) and Chris Porter (unrestricted free agent). Both could have become free agents July 1.
Sobotka was originally drafted by the Bruins in the fourth round (106th overall) in 2005. He has appeared in 199 games during his four-year NHL career, totaling 51 points on 13 goals and 38 assists.