Tag: Vladimir Sobotka

Steve Ott

Blues re-sign Ott; Sobotka to KHL?


Steve Ott is staying in St. Louis. The veteran forward has signed a two-year, $5.2 million contract with the Blues, according to Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch.

In a possibly related story, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun is “hearing” that restricted free agent Vladimir Sobotka, who the Blues were taking to arbitration, has signed with Omsk of the KHL.

Ott had no goals and just three assists in 23 regular-season games for the Blues after he was traded from Buffalo, along with Ryan Miller, in February. The 31-year-old followed up with no goals and two assists in six playoff games, as St. Louis fell to Chicago in the first round.

But Ott was not signed to lead the Blues in scoring. He’s good in the faceoff circle and led St. Louis in hits (29) during the postseason. A former captain of the Sabres, he’s also considered a leader.

Whether that’s worth $5.2 million over two years, well, apparently general manager Doug Armstrong believes it is. Especially, we suppose, if Sobotka is off to the KHL.

Franson, Leafs to open arbitration hearings

Cody Franson
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On Wednesday, the NHLPA released the dates for the 20 player- and three club-elected salary arbitration hearings that’ll take place over a two-week span in late July and early August.

Here’s the tea-by-team list; things will kick off on July 21st between Toronto and RFA defenseman Cody Franson:


Arizona Coyotes
Brandon McMillan – July 29, 2014

Boston Bruins
Matt Bartkowski – July 30, 2014

Calgary Flames
Joe Colborne – August 1, 2014

Dallas Stars
Cameron Gaunce – July 25, 2014
Antoine Roussel – July 22, 2014

Florida Panthers
Jimmy Hayes – July 29, 2014

Los Angeles Kings
Dwight King – August 1, 2014

Minnesota Wild
Justin Fontaine – August 1, 2014

Montreal Canadiens
Lars Eller – July 25, 2014
P.K. Subban – August 1, 2014

New York Islanders
Kevin Poulin – July 30, 2014

New York Rangers
Derick Brassard – July 28, 2014
Chris Kreider – July 23, 2014
Mats Zuccarello – July 25, 2014

Ottawa Senators
Derek Grant – July 24, 2014

Pittsburgh Penguins
Nick Spaling – July 31, 2014

San Jose Sharks
Jason Demers – July 22, 2014

Toronto Maple Leafs
Cody Franson – July 21, 2014
James Reimer – July 28, 2014


Colorado Avalanche
Ryan O’Reilly – July 23, 2014

St. Louis Blues
Vladimir Sobotka – July 21, 2014

Winnipeg Jets
Michael Frolik – July 31, 2014

Hearings will be held in Toronto but, if last year was any indication, don’t expect there to be many actual hearings. Here’s a list of the schedule for last summer’s arbitration:


And the subsequent list of players that agreed to terms prior to their hearings:


One of this year’s arbitration hearings — Mattias Ekholm’s, with Nashville — was wiped out after he inked a two-year, $2.075M deal today.

St. Louis taking Sobotka to arbitration is a smart move

Vladimir Sobotka

When the St. Louis Blues announced they were taking forward Vladimir Sobotka to team-elected arbitration, many fans thought there was another Colorado Avalanche-Ryan O’Reilly situation developing.

As it turns out, that’s not the case at all. Instead, the Blues opting to use this option to get the 27-year-old signed makes sense for everyone involved as Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch shared.

As Rutherford lays it out, the Blues will be paying Sobotka at least $1.4 million next season (the CBA mandates this as it was what he made in the final year of his deal) as this brand of arbitration (there are two types) isn’t meant to lower his salary.

In the Avs’ case with O’Reilly, they are trying to knock down what they’ll pay him next year. Just that difference is enough to keep the acrimony down between St. Louis and Sobotka.

Much like when a player opts to go to arbitration with a team, the Blues are trying to guarantee a resolution by early August when hearings wrap up. This ensures no time at training camp or in the regular season is missed over a contract dispute. However, since the team took Sobotka to arbitration, he can choose whether he gets a one or two-year deal from the reward.

It’s a cover-your-butt move by the Blues and GM Doug Armstrong because they don’t want to run the risk of either losing Sobotka on an offer sheet or having a dispute go long-term. Chances are both sides get a deal worked out before ever heading to court, but in the end it’s not as dire of a situation as you might believe.

Interesting players who didn’t file for arbitration

Pittsburgh Penguins v Detroit Red Wings

The NHLPA released a list of 20 players who filed for salary arbitration on Saturday, yet there were a few interesting names that didn’t make it on that list (for whatever reasons).

Feel free to share other noteworthy RFAs who didn’t file in the comments, but here are a few of the more intriguing players who decided to ignore that process altogether:

Sutter, 25, scored 13 goals and 26 points while averaging 15:56 minutes per game in 81 contests last season.

  • Minnesota Wild goalie Darcy Kuemper is another name that pops out (thanks to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo). The 24-year-old had a very nice regular season and looked good before being injured in the playoffs, but with just 40 NHL games (32 regular season, 8 postseason) on his resume, he probably wouldn’t have had a great case.
  • The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford believes that Vladimir Sobotka’s decision not to file is a good sign that he might reach a deal with the St. Louis Blues soon.
  • The Detroit Red Wings might be a little relieved to avoid the process with defenseman Danny DeKeyser (pointed out by MLive.com’s Ansar Khan).

In his second season with the Red Wings, the 24-year-old defenseman averaged 21:38 per game, the second highest total behind Niklas Kronwall (24:19). DeKeyser scored a solid 23 points in 65 games, making him a nice bargain at $1.35 million (after performance bonuses). That could be an interesting RFA negotiation process to watch this summer.


Again, this isn’t a comprehensive list. If there are any names that stand out (note: not every RFA is eligible for salary arbitration), feel free to point some out in the comments.

Lehtera to center Schwartz, Tarasenko; will be ‘contributing factor’ for Blues

Jori Lehtera

Doug Armstrong is high on Jori Lehtera.

The Finnish center, who’d previously turned down St. Louis’ overtures before inking a two-year, $5.5M deal on Tuesday, is finally a member of the Blues — and, according to Armstrong, will be an impact player for the club.

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

The Blues have already penciled [Lehtera] in to center Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko, who played with Lehtera in the KHL during the NHL lockout in 2012-13. 

“He’s a big body, 6-2, 210 — very, very soft hands, a very good passer,” Armstrong said. “He’s a guy that can find players. I watched him at the World Championships give some guys some back-door tap ins on the power play. He’s just an offensive players where his strengths are his passing skills.

“Having the opportunity to watch him play at the Olympics firsthand, watching all his games at the World Championships, talking to people I know from the Finnish Federation, there’s very little question he’s ready to step in and be a contributing factor in the NHL.”

For all the talk of center upgrades in Anaheim (Ryan Kesler) and Dallas (Jason Spezza), it’s tough to argue anybody had better improvement than the Blues, who made another splash on the opening day of free agency by landing Paul Stastny.

Put it this way: In last year’s opening playoff round against Chicago,St. Louis was at one point going Alex Steen-Vladimir Sobotka-Patrik Berglund-Maxim Lapierre down the middle, with Derek Roy shifting between wing and center (when he wasn’t a healthy scratch). With these latest moves, the club can now boast Stastny, Lehtera and Sobotka as its top three centers, with Steen and Berglund doing the flipping between the middle and wing.

It’s a big upgrade to be sure, one that had Armstrong already dreaming of line combinations for next season.

“[I’m thinking of] a scenario where Paul plays with Steen and (David) Backes,” he explained. “That gives us quite a bit of strength on the wing, on the size with Backes. And then you have  Berglund with Sobotka and maybe (T.J.) Oshie as another line.”

Sounds pretty good, huh?