St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong couldn’t confirm today’s report that center Vladimir Sobotka had signed a three-year deal with Omsk of the KHL, at an annual salary of around $4 million.
But what Armstrong did say is this — in June, the Blues offered Sobotka a multi-year deal (three, four, or five years, “at his choice”) at “north of $3 million” per season. The 27-year-old restricted free agent was last offered a one-year deal at $2.7 million per, or a two-year deal at $3 million per.
“Those haven’t got it done to this point,” Armstrong told reporters this morning.
But Armstrong is holding out hope that the player will one day — hopefully soon — be wearing the Blues’ uniform again. And he still intends to attend Sobotka’s arbitration hearing on July 21.
“An award will be given and that will be his contract for the ’14-15 season,” he said. “We hope that he’ll be at training camp under that contract. If he’s in the KHL, that contract will toll until future years.”
According to the aforementioned report, Sobotka’s KHL contract has an out following each season, at which point he can choose to return to the NHL.
Clearly, Armstrong wants Sobotka to know he’d be welcomed back with open arms.
“I just want to emphasize that this is a business decision by Vlad that I respect,” said Armstrong. “It does not change my admiration for him as a man and how he plays and what he’s accomplished and what he’s going to accomplish.
“I don’t want to turn this into a personal thing or get it to that point, because it’s not like that.”