Salary arbitration award a win for Vladimir Sobotka and St. Louis Blues
The NHL's slate of salary arbitration hearings got underway early on Monday morning, and things have already gotten very interesting.
Just hours into the process, the Blues announced that RFA forward Vladimir Sobotka had been awarded a one-year contract by the arbitrator. Sources says the deal is worth $2.725 million, but it won't go into effect right away.
The 27-year-old Sobotka signed a three-year deal with Avangard Omsk of the KHL last month, and while the arrangement has out clauses after the first and second years, he is committed to play with the team next season. That means that the arbitration award will carry over when Sobotka decides to return to the NHL ... if he decides to return.
But this may be a win for both sides. Sobotka's being paid well to play in the KHL—initially, his deal was reported to be around $4 million a year, but the actual figure is closer to $2.8 million—but non-Russians (Sobotka is Czech) with NHL options rarely stick around in the K. Given the amount of his award, and the chance to build on it as an unrestricted free agent when it expires, it seems likely that he will be back with the Blues for the 2015–16 season.