The agent for Vladimir Sobotka says that the St. Louis Blues could’ve had his client for $300,000 more than the club was offering on a one-year deal.
“[Blues general manager Doug Armstrong] started at $2.4 million (for one season) and he came up to $2.7 million, so he gave me his best number,” agent Petr Svoboda told the Post-Dispatch. “We were at one year, $3 million. So basically it was over $300,000. There was no room for negotiation. It was one year at $2.7 (million) — take it.”
Instead, Sobotka is bound for the KHL, where he’ll play at least one season with Avangard Omsk.
Armstrong said yesterday that the Blues offered Sobotka a multi-year deal in June (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.
The Blues were willing to give Sobotka more per season on a multi-year deal, as he only had one season remaining before he could become an unrestricted free agent. But they weren’t willing to give him enough, apparently.
Sobotka will still have an arbitration hearing on July 21.
“An award will be given and that will be his contract for the ’14-15 season,” Armstrong 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.”
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.”
Related: Blues re-sign Steve 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.