St. Louis Blues center Vladimir Sobotka was awarded a one-year deal in club-elected salary arbitration on Monday, but will still play the 2014-15 season in the KHL after inking a contract with Avangard Omsk two weeks ago.
Per the Post-Dispatch, the arbitrator awarded Sobotka $2.725 million for the single-year pact.
Here’s the official release, from the Blues:
St. Louis Blues President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced today that forward Vladimir Sobotka has been awarded a one-year contract through arbitration.
Sobotka will play the for Avangard Omsk in the KHL for the 2014-15 season. The terms of his arbitration contract will be enforced when Sobotka returns to the NHL.
“We are looking forward to having Vladimir in a Blues uniform when he returns to the NHL,” said Armstrong. “We wish him the best of luck in the upcoming season.”
Sobotka, 27, inked the deal to play in Russia following acrimonious contract negotiations with the Blues. In response to the development, Armstrong set about explaining St. Louis’ offers to Sobotka, saying the Blues tabled a multi-year deal (three, four, or five years, “at [Sobotka’s] choice”) at “north of $3 million” per season. Sobotka was then 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 said.
To give an idea of how tight negotiations were, consider what Sobotka’s agent — ex-NHLer Petr Svoboda — had to say in the aftermath.
“[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,” Svoboda told the Post-Dispatch. “We were at one year, $3 million.
“Basically it was over $300,000. There was no room for negotiation. It was one year at $2.7 (million) — take it.”
Once the Blues learned of Sobotka’s move to the KHL, they quickly inked free agent center Steve Ott to a new deal.