Report: Sobotka to stick in KHL, won’t return to Blues next year

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Doesn’t sound like the rumored Vladimir Sobotka-to-St. Louis reunion is happening.

Per KHL Avangard Omsk’s website, Sobotka has reportedly agreed to return to Russia for a second season — despite a stipulation in his contract that allows for an NHL return at the culmination of any KHL campaign.

Sobotka, who parted ways with the Blues following an arbitration hearing last summer, just finished the first of a three-year deal with Omsk. His departure from St. Louis came on the heels of his best NHL season, in which he scored nine goals and 33 points in 61 games.

Blues GM Doug Armstrong has been in contact with the Sobotka camp following his club’s first-round playoff exit to Minnesota, and spoke with agent Petr Svoboda during the World Hockey Championships in the Czech Republic (Sobotka represented the Czechs in the tourney, scoring four points in 10 games.)

“I had a good talk with his agent,” Armstrong said last week. “The agent told me that the money he made last year, they guaranteed him for next year. He’s got two weeks to decide what he’s going to do. I said ‘We’d love to have him back.’ I understand if the economics are so great in the KHL and he has to stay. I respect that. Then we’ll talk again a year from now.”

Sobotka owes the Blues one season at an arbiter-elected salary of $2.7 million. If reports are accurate and he decides to remain in the KHL, he and the Blues will be in a similar position next spring.