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Why Vladimir Sobotka Left St. Louis

from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

On July 6, one day after Sobotka chose not to file for arbitration, the Blues did, “hoping to expedite the process,” Armstrong said.

Meanwhile, Sobotka had switched agents again, leaving a frustrated Bartlett. He hired Petr Svoboda, the former NHL player, of Sports Associates International.

With the KHL being a legitimate option, Svoboda and Armstrong began negotiations.

“He started at $2.4 million (for one season) and he came up to $2.7 million, so he gave me his best number,” Svoboda said. “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.”

Armstrong acknowledged that $2.7 million was the Blues’ last offer for one year, because the team would be unwilling to pay more knowing that Sobotka would then be an unrestricted free agent next summer, but added that a two-year proposal paying $3 million per season was also on the table.

Sobotka, who averaged $1.3 million the last three years, was not interested. Being UFA eligible in 2015, his camp believed that he was worth more than $3 million in Year 2.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: vladimir+sobotka

Comments

TreKronor's avatar

To me it seems odd that he’d go off to the KHL to play for a season or so and then maybe come back to the NHL hoping to get more money, all because he thinks he’s worth more than $3mil in two years, rather than signing a one year at $2.7.  Are NHL teams going to be impressed by numbers he puts up in the KHL?

Posted by TreKronor on 07/11/14 at 01:46 PM ET

JimH's avatar

The way I’m reading this, it sounds like St.Louis came in at $2.4M, Sobotka came in at $3M.  Then St.Louis increased their offer to $2.7M and Sobotka refused to move from $3M.  If Svoboda’s so disappointed that they deal went off the rails over $300,000, why couldn’t Sobotka come down, since St.Louis had already increased their offer by the same amount?  Clearly there HAD been room for negotiation and it seems it was the Sobotka camp that made the take-it-or-leave it offer.

Posted by JimH from the International Space Station on 07/11/14 at 02:03 PM ET

Hootinani's avatar

The arbiter’s ruling will be Sobotka’s salary for the season in which he returns to the NHL

This is what I was talking about in the other article.  He will have an NHL contract regardless, and even if he plays a year in the KHL and then comes back for what he thinks is his free agency, he actually has to play another year before he hits FA.  So unless things go horribly wrong for him in Russia, why would he ever come back?

And then there is the issue of whether or not the NHL is going to consider this player poaching by the KHL.

Posted by Hootinani on 07/11/14 at 02:12 PM ET

Avatar

And then there is the issue of whether or not the NHL is going to consider this player poaching by the KHL.

I don’t believe the NHL will see it as poaching.  The guy was a restricted free agent.  He had no signed contract with the Blues.  He’s free to sign with the KHL if he wants to.  However, his rights will reside with St. Louis and he’s no closer to UFA status now than he was before bolting for the KHL.

Posted by Canucklehead on 07/11/14 at 02:20 PM ET

Avatar

Defninitely an odd tactic.

Take the $2.7M and play your way into a huge contract next year, whether it’s with the Blues or someone else.

Also, I like that Svoboda implied that there was no room for negotiation from St. Louis yet they were the ones who were willing to move from their original proposal.

Posted by Garth on 07/11/14 at 03:32 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Citing $3m and then refusing to budge from it after the team budges from theirs sure sounds like a Svodoba deal to me.  Seems to be how the guy operates now, very hard-line, “my way or else” kind of agent.  And he apparently think the KHL is a more-legit alternative than it actually is.

Posted by Primis on 07/11/14 at 03:46 PM ET

Hootinani's avatar

I don’t believe the NHL will see it as poaching.  The guy was a restricted free agent.  He had no signed contract with the Blues.  He’s free to sign with the KHL if he wants to.  However, his rights will reside with St. Louis and he’s no closer to UFA status now than he was before bolting for the KHL.
Posted by Canucklehead on 07/11/14 at 02:20 PM ET

While I pretty much agree with you, the sticking point is that the Blues won’t just have his rights at the end of this, they’ll have an actual 1 year contract that he’s skipping out on.

Posted by Hootinani on 07/11/14 at 04:01 PM ET

Ass Moses's avatar

Siberia. Winter in Siberia. Travelling to away games from the middle of Siberia. Choosing not to play for only $300k less than you wanted before hitting the FA jackpot in 2015 for a contract in Siberia.

Someone is taking some bad advise from their agent.

In 2015 he could have chosen anywhere in N.America, Europe or Russia but chose to go to…. Siberia!

Posted by Ass Moses on 07/11/14 at 08:13 PM ET

alwaysaurie's avatar

... the Blues won’t just have his rights at the end of this, they’ll have an actual 1 year contract that he’s skipping out on.

—- No.

The Blues won’t have a contract he’s skipped out on. He’s signed no contract.

What he’ll have is an arbitration-determined contract waiting… and this is what allows St. Louis to retain his rights.

St Louis retains his rights by filing for arbitration.

Posted by alwaysaurie on 07/12/14 at 09:15 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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