Forward will play in KHL for 2014-15
season after rejecting team's terms on contract
By LOU KORAC
ST. LOUIS -- Through no surprise, forward Vladimir Sobotka was awarded a one-year contract through arbitration Monday.
Sobotka, a restricted free agent who will play with Avangard Omsk of the Kontinental Hockey League in 2014-15, rejected the Blues' one-year offer of $2.7 million, along with offers of a two-year, $6 million contract and anywhere from 3-5 years at what "north of $3 million" per season, as Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said recently. It is believed that the offer of 3-5 years would have paid Sobotka $3.1 million per season.
Sobotka was seeking $3 million on a one-year deal, which would have taken him to unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2015.
The Blues were awarded an arbitration of a
one-year contract on Vladimir Sobotka.
Under the one-year deal awarded to the Blues, Sobotka will owe the team one year of service upon his return to the NHL unless the Blues trade his rights, which is unlikely.
Sobotka, 27, had career highs of nine goals and 33 points in 61 games last season for the Blues. He won 61.9 percent of his faceoffs, which led the league.
Sobotka has an out clause after each year of his KHL contract, which has been reported at three years. A well-placed source said the contract will pay Sobotka $3.5 million in 2014-15, $3.5 million in 2015-16 and $4.5 million in 2016-17.
"We are looking forward to having Vladimir in a Blues uniform when he returns to the NHL," Armstrong said in a statement. "We wish him the best of luck in the upcoming season."
A fourth-round pick (No. 106) of the Boston Bruins in the 2005 NHL Draft, Sobotka has 35 goals and 123 points in 381 regular season games for the Blues and Bruins.
With Sobotka off to Russia for the upcoming season, the Blues brought back veteran Steve Ott, giving the forward $5.2 million for two seasons.
* Blues sign trio -- The Blues also announced a trio of signings, including 2014 second round draft pick Ivan Barbashev to a three-year entry-level contract.
Barbashev, 18, was the 33rd pick in Philadelphia last month. He participated in the Blues prospects' camp recently and is the best friend of fellow prospect Dmitrij Jaskin, who was Barbashev's teammate in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with the Moncton Wildcats.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Barbashev played in 48 games a season ago and had a team-high 43 assists and was second with 68 points. He had 130 points the past two seasons with Moncton.
Also, the Blues signed veteran defenseman Nate Prosser, formerly of the Minnesota Wild and forward Jeremy Welsh, formerly of the Vancouver Canucks, to one-year, two-way contracts.
Prosser, 28, spent the past three full seasons with the Wild and had brief stints in two previous seasons before that.
The 6-2, 203-pound right-handed shot provides more depth with the Blues' AHL team, the Chicago Wolves. He had two goals and eight points in 53 regular season games last season with the Wild and played in 10 playoff games with Minnesota this past season.
Welsh, 26, split last season between the Canucks and the AHL's Utica Comets.
The 6-3, 191-pound Welsh had a goal in 19 regular season games with the Canucks last season.
Welsh has appeared in 25 career NHL regular season games, including stints with Vancouver and Carolina Hurricanes, totaling two points (one goal, one assist). He will also provide depth for the Wolves for the upcoming season.