– Photo by sport.aktuality.sk
The St. Louis Blues will have to wait a bit longer if Vladamir Sobtoka is to ever suit up in the blue and white again.
The 27-year-old forward and the Blues will remain separate for at least the 2015-16 season. Sobotka and his agent announced he would be staying in the KHL as opposed to returning to the NHL.
Sobotka has posted 11 goals and 29 assists for a total of 40 points in 57 games played for Avangard Omsk in the KHL. Over those games, Sobotka is also a +13 rating and has logged 51 penalty minutes.
Sobotka played four seasons with the Blues, and he currently has 123 points in 381 career NHL games with 282 penalty minutes. The Blues and Sobotka’s agent did not rule out the possibility of the chance for the forward to return to the NHL in the future with the Blues or with another team, but for the next season, Sobotka will be staying put in the KHL.
If Sobotka were to have returned, he would have one more year left on his contract set to make $2.7 million. Now the Sobotka is staying put, the Blues will need to address unrestricted free agents Olli Jokinen, Chris Porter, Marcel Goc, Chris Butler, Zbynek Michalek and Barret Jackman as well as restricted free agents Vladamir Tarasenko, Robert Bortuzzo and Jake Allen.
Depending on the salary cap restrictions, the Blues will have somewhere in the ballpark of $14 million in cap space. A large chunk of that will go toward signing Tarasenko to a long-term deal. Allen and Bortuzzo will be due for a raise after earning a combined $1.5 million last season. These deals will give very little room for Armstrong to sign other remaining free agents, so there likely will be some other roster moves to free up cap space through the trade market.