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Is Vladimir Sobotka’s new contract that bad?

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Spoiler: yes.

St. Louis Blues v New Jersey Devils

As we all know by now, Doug Armstrong finally got that deal signed that he started three years ago. He extended Vladimir Sobotka. After Sobotka’s termination of his KHL deal, one that he signed because he believed that the Blues were lowballing him $300,000 on his last contract, it was only a matter of time before the Blues announced his return.

Sobotka wasn’t going to come back just for two games and the playoffs, so the Blues hammered out an extension with him (which frankly makes me think that the plan was this before Sobotka begged out of his contract, because why beg out with no guarantees?) Spending three seasons away in the KHL negotiated Sobotka right into a three year deal with the Blues, valued at $10.5 million.

Sobotka will get paid $4 million for the first season, $3.5 million for season two, and $3 million for season three. Not bad for someone who a) hasn’t played in the NHL for three years and b) will be 32 when the deal closes.

Doug Armstrong said this about his return: "It was a difficult three years, but at the end of the day, he's back here, he's still in a really strong part of his career and we're excited to have him.”

This is a player who has never scored more than nine goals in any given NHL season. Granted, he is an effective third or fourth line center, and is excellent on the draw, but why spend three seasons pining over a guy who told you to go piss off, especially when the Blues have shown themselves perfectly capable of functioning without him?

Either, as was discussed in the comments for the last Sobotka post, the Blues have an idea who they’re not protecting in the expansion draft and that’s why they re-signed Sobotka or Doug Armstrong legitimately values Sobotka nearly as much as he values Patrik Berglund and David Perron.

While many of us here might question is Berglund’s contract is appropriate for a third line center, you have to admit that Berglund and Perron bring much more value to the team as it stands. Sobotka is a perfectly fine bottom six player, but it’s puzzling why he remained a focal point of Armstrong’s. After a certain amount of time, I suppose getting him to re-sign becomes a matter of principle, but for what reason, and what long-term effect on the development of players?

If this were a contract for a different player - one who had been with the team long term and had an established role, perhaps - the deal wouldn’t be that bad. Sobotka had an established role under Ken Hitchcock. Had one. He doesn’t have an established role under Mike Yeo, and he may not.

I guess tomorrow we find out.