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.