The Blues’ off-season is usually, in most years, drama free. Sign a few mid-tier free agents, have at least one surprise training camp performance, have a star player get hurt in practice, so on and so forth.
This off season the Blues have been mired in some actual drama over a position that shouldn’t be dramatic: a third line player.
A couple of years ago, you may remember, Vladimir Sobotka didn’t like the outcome of his arbitration hearing. He left to go play for his hometown Avangard Omsk of the KHL for slightly more money. The KHL contract allowed him an out clause to return to the Blues. More accurately, his old contract did.
Army says that Sobotka renegotiated KHL contract when ruble crashed. Sobotka signed it, not paying attention that out clause was taken out.— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) September 30, 2016
Doug Armstrong has been in contact with Sobotka’s agent all summer long, trying to figure out if the forward was returning or if the Blues needed to fill his position internally. Sobotka’s a capable third line forward, but the Blues have others under contract and kids fighting for a roster spot in camp. Dmitrij Jaskin would probably enjoy regular playing time this season if he can make it out of Ken HItchcock’s doghouse. Magnus Paajarvi still exists (though I would argue that Sobotka’d at least be preferable). Kenny Agostino would love to hang around and give the Blues one more Italian on their roster (seriously, have you seen how many they have? It’s like they raided The Hill).
At this point, it’s best for the Blues just to move on and focus on who is on this side of the pond. For Sobotka, let this be a lesson for him and for his agent: always read the damn fine print.