Blues fans almost made it a full season without hearing about Vladimir Sobotka. The center who ditched the Blues in favor of playing abroad had finally started drifting out of everyone’s consciousness only to suddenly pop back up and sign a new three-year extension.
Yes, the guy who refused to skate with the Blues and left still owing the team another season is back and has a new shiny extension. An extension which seems pretty pricey (and long) for a player who belongs in the bottom-six as opposed to the top-six.
When Sobotka departed, he did so with a fair amount of value. The Blues could have used his services as a third or fourth-line center. Now, that’s not really the case. The Blues are loaded with bottom-end centers thanks to an infusion of some veteran talent alongside some rising young players. Sobotka slides into an already crowded lineup.
It’s difficult to decide what’s the most troubling aspect of all of this. Is it the price? Is it the years? Is it the fact Sobotka is joining a lineup that already has chemistry? Is it the fact Sobotka made it clear he had no desire to play in St. Louis unless his demands were met? Take your pick. They’re all worrisome.
Maybe Sobotka will surprise everyone with some skills he learned during his time abroad, but it’s pretty likely his contract will be viewed in the same light as Jori Lehtera’s embarrassing deal.