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St. Louis taking Sobotka to arbitration is a smart move

Jul 7, 2014, 11:07 AM EDT

Vladimir Sobotka Getty Images

When the St. Louis Blues announced they were taking forward Vladimir Sobotka to team-elected arbitration, many fans thought there was another Colorado Avalanche-Ryan O’Reilly situation developing.

As it turns out, that’s not the case at all. Instead, the Blues opting to use this option to get the 27-year-old signed makes sense for everyone involved as Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch shared.

As Rutherford lays it out, the Blues will be paying Sobotka at least $1.4 million next season (the CBA mandates this as it was what he made in the final year of his deal) as this brand of arbitration (there are two types) isn’t meant to lower his salary.

In the Avs’ case with O’Reilly, they are trying to knock down what they’ll pay him next year. Just that difference is enough to keep the acrimony down between St. Louis and Sobotka.

Much like when a player opts to go to arbitration with a team, the Blues are trying to guarantee a resolution by early August when hearings wrap up. This ensures no time at training camp or in the regular season is missed over a contract dispute. However, since the team took Sobotka to arbitration, he can choose whether he gets a one or two-year deal from the reward.

It’s a cover-your-butt move by the Blues and GM Doug Armstrong because they don’t want to run the risk of either losing Sobotka on an offer sheet or having a dispute go long-term. Chances are both sides get a deal worked out before ever heading to court, but in the end it’s not as dire of a situation as you might believe.

  1. bcsteele - Jul 7, 2014 at 11:30 AM

    This guy is the most underrated player on the Blues roster, if not the league. There are several players I’d trade from this roster before losing this guy (Berglund being number one). Just get a deal done there Army.

    • bsaundaz - Jul 8, 2014 at 12:46 PM

      was one of my favorite players on the Bruins before they traded him for nothing….

  2. pj608 - Jul 7, 2014 at 11:34 AM

    Please, NJ send this kid an offer sheet and pick him up. TRADE SALVADOR!!!!

    • bcsteele - Jul 7, 2014 at 11:45 AM

      My understanding is because of this move you can’t offer sheet him.

      • pj608 - Jul 7, 2014 at 11:59 AM

        If he hasn’t signed his name in ink on anything yet anything is possible. If he is not happy and has offers from teams that have to draft picks to give up for him he can leave. He is not entitled to stay until he signs and agrees upon a new contract. If Kovalchuk can retire, go to KHL and still possibly have a chance of coming back to the nhl. Anything is possible.

        Chances are though, he will only sign for 1 year and be a UFA next season. but if he truly isn’t happy he can take it to the court in august. Like I said, Anything is possible. There are always loopholes

      • cliffatola - Jul 8, 2014 at 1:07 AM

        That is true and the arbitration decision is binding, unlike when a player files. If the team files they are bound to the decision unless something changed in the CBA after the lockout, if the player files and the team doesn’t like the decision they can walk away from it. So for Blues fans you’ll get Sobotka for at least another year or two.

    • jernster21 - Jul 7, 2014 at 1:08 PM

      A team can’t give an offer sheet to a player who has been arbed.

      • pj608 - Jul 7, 2014 at 1:45 PM

        Fair enough…. He will opt to a 1 year deal and be a free agent next season.

  3. wutangwild - Jul 7, 2014 at 12:01 PM

    All I can think about when I hear that name is season 2 of The Wire and that idiot Ziggy w/ his duck. Great player though

  4. beepbeepbeeplgb - Jul 7, 2014 at 12:20 PM

    soby is the man! i’d love to see us give him a multi year deal. not many players are as versatile and work as hard as he does.

  5. spoon9z - Jul 7, 2014 at 1:00 PM

    As far as my understanding goes, offer sheets aren’t allowed after July 5th mainly BECAUSE St. Louis offered him arb…but I could be wrong.

    • pj608 - Jul 7, 2014 at 1:15 PM

      I am pretty sure that July 5th is the first day in which they are eligible to accept offer sheets. This article was written on July 4th and says ….
      “there is a possibility we could get one or more offer sheets in the following weeks. Here’s a look at some of the most likely targets.”

      • pj608 - Jul 7, 2014 at 1:21 PM

        You can’t offer RFA’s anything until after the draft and free agency for UFA’s are completed. It is all done systematically. Also, just because they went with arbitration doesn’t mean he has a gun held to his head that he has to stay on that team. If it goes to court and nothing can be worked out and he doesn’t sign an offer sheet than he will just become a UFA instead of being a RFA. If the team loses (which they rarely ever do, I cant even think of an instance as to where the team lost) but if the team loses than they lose the players rights and wont obtain any picks. They will just become a UFA.

        It is all highly unlikely, just wishful thinking for a Devils fan. but anything is possible and Offersheets just started. RFA possibilities just started.

      • pj608 - Jul 7, 2014 at 1:31 PM

        if it were the “deadline” for offersheets right after free agency then teams would be frenzying over the RFAs not the old washed up UFAs…. everyone would be out trying to steal each others youthful players. I mean honestly…. Who would want Legwand, Alfredsson, Orpik over a guy like Ryan Johansen or Jaden Schwartz???? No one… Wouldn’t make sense if that were the way it was set up. Thats another reason why offersheets being signed and arbitration going to court because most teams filled up the cap space on UFA’s. They are just trying to work out a deal… Anything can happen and i cant see Sobotka excepting what he made last year for more than 1 season. They also have to worry about Jaden Schwartz if they haven’t signed him yet and i dont think they have much more than 6 mil in cap space.

        Truthfully, I cannot see Schwartz and or sobotka settling for less than 3 million a piece

      • bcsteele - Jul 7, 2014 at 3:16 PM

        No offense bro, but you either don’t know, or are in denial of the current CBA. Just about everything you’ve said so far on this post is incorrect. That’s water under the bridge, though.

        As far as Soby and Schwartz, they are not going anywhere. We have enough cap space to take care of both of them. I like to dream about my team getting a hold of certain people too…but unless its via trade…the Devils or anyone else aren’t getting either of them.

        P.S. And Schwartz would bring a HAUL on the trade market…but he’s not going anywhere.

      • pj608 - Jul 7, 2014 at 4:30 PM

        No, i dont know for sure. Most of what i said i got from some of the stuff i read in articicles about the topic. There is no dead line on july 5th. If that were the case none of this would even be a talk able topic at the moment. As to where or how much they’ll sign for? I have no idea. Just getting under some of that thin STL skin.

      • pj608 - Jul 7, 2014 at 5:42 PM

        Oh yeah and your right… Schwartz along with the entire blues team aren’t going anywhere :)


      • bcsteele - Jul 7, 2014 at 6:10 PM

        If your attempt to get under my skin is making yourself look like an idiot when it comes to the current system the NHL employs, then more power to you.

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