Friday, May 29, 2015

Report: Sobotka to remain in KHL

According to Avangard Omsk president, forward will play for club in 2015-16

ST. LOUIS -- According to a report in a Russian website, Vladimir Sobotka has decided to play a second season in the Kontinental Hockey League. has reported that Sobotka has informed KHL club Avangard Omsk that he will return for the 2015-16 season.

Sobotka, who signed a reported three-year contract worth $12 million, had a window that extended to the end of May that allowed him to vacate his contract and return to the NHL and back to the Blues, who own his rights as a restricted free agent for one season. 

The report has not been confirmed by Sobotka, his agent Petr Svoboda or the Blues and general manager Doug Armstrong.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
According to a Russian report, Vladimir Sobotka
has decided to return to the KHL for 2015-16.

"Yesterday we had a conversation with Vladimir Sobotka, and we agreed that he is a player of our club for another season," said Vladimir Shalaev, the club's president, according to the report. "... Vladimir said that he likes to play in our team. ... He understands that he has become one of the leaders of the team."

Sobotka, 27, left the Blues last summer in a contract dispute after he became a RFA. He was asking the Blues roughly $3 million on a new contract but was awarded just north of $2.7 million by an arbitrator. 

If and when Sobotka, who had 33 points (nine goals, 24 assists) in 2013-14 for the Blues, returns to the NHL, he owes the Blues one year of service and Armstrong has maintained the stance that he will play here when and if he returns.

Armstrong, on a visit to the Czech Republic for the World Championships earlier in the month, spoke with Sobotka's agent regarding the Blues' interest of his return. 

Earlier this week when announcing the one-year contract extension of Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, Armstrong said there was nothing new to report.

"It's his call," Armstrong said of Sobotka, who had 40 points (29 assists) in 57 regular season games for Avangard this past season. "I talked to his representative in Prague when I was there. I just said, 'We'd love to have him back in the NHL.' He's coming back through St. Louis whether it's this year, next year or in four or five years. If he wants to come back in the NHL, he'll waltz through here at some point."

There was speculation Sobotka may want to return to the NHL in the aftermath of fall of the RUB (Russian Ruble). But reportedly, Sobotka has been guaranteed that he'll make in excess of $4 million once again if he returned to the club. 

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