St. Louis’ offseason to this point has been pretty busy in taking care of the host of restricted free agents they’re due to have this summer. They’ve already locked up Chris Porter, Nikita Nikitin, and T.J. Hensick to deals and today they’ve retained yet another important young forward in Vladimir Sobotka.
Sobotka, acquired from the Boston Bruins last summer for prospect defenseman David Warsofsky, had a career best in goals and points for St. Louis last season finishing the year with seven goals and 29 points in all. Playing as a third and fourth line player for the Blues he saw his minutes increase (averaging 16:11 time on ice) as well as his scoring chances. He’s a solid two-way centerman and still young at age 24 and with the opportunity to see the ice time that he has as a Blue he’s showing more what he’s capable of.
The Blues are already loaded up with younger centers and Sobotka helps give them more depth there. With the injuries to T.J. Oshie last season, Sobotka was able to get more ice time and helped show that he’s worth it to St. Louis. At his age, the Blues are hoping that his offensive breakout in 2010-2011 is the start of better times ahead for the young Czech. With the Blues having to compete with Chicago, Detroit, and Nashville in the Central Division, they’ll need all the help and improvement they can get.
Flames keep showing life, Stars stumble once again
If you think the Dallas Stars are struggling because of defense more than anything else, then you’ll make sure to keep the video above “on file.”
There Kari Lehtonen was, helpless on a 2-on-0 rush for the Calgary Flames, which Johnny Gaudreau finished with calm and ease. For some, that goal is the symbol of the Stars’ season.
Either way, it was a painful goal in the Flames’ 2-1 win against the Stars. Calgary won despite Dallas firing 30 shots on goal versus the Flames’ 20.
One team climbing, the other stumbling
With that, the Flames are now on a four-game winning streak. Since falling to 5-10-1 on Nov. 12, the Flames have gone 9-3-1 in their last 13 games, pushing them to 14-13-2 overall. Gaudreau coming back is the icing on the cake after Chad Johnson really took charge of the Flames’ top job.
During a similar span, the Stars can’t seem to get it together. Dallas stood at 6-6-3 after beating the Oilers 3-2 on Nov. 11. They’re now 10-11-6, essentially standing in place as a .500 team.
Dallas can’t seem to get momentum going, a thought that might have left them envious of the team on the other end of the ice on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, it wasn’t just about Jack Eichel vs. Connor McDavid. Instead, it was a clash between a fleet of young scorers who were in their prime, with the Buffalo Sabres coming up on top against the Edmonton Oilers.