I’m Not Thrilled with Sobotka

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Vladimir Sobotka plays for the Czech team against the USA.

Apparently the Blues have not only secured Vladimir Sobotka’s services for perhaps the remainder of this season and the playoffs, they have extended him for 3 years at better than $3 million per season.

The Blues were able to do this because Sobotka had ended his contract with the KHL. He owed the Blues 1 season due to his previous NHL deal.

I’m disappointed. At least right now.

The Blues have an abundance of lower line forward. I count (9) – Berglund, Barbashev, Paajarvi, Upshall, Yakupov, Reaves, Brodziak, Sanford, and Jaskin. Now Sobotka makes 10 forwards to fill 2 lines.

Now it’s likely that one of those will be picked by Vegas in the expansion draft. And it won’t be Scottie Upshall, because is an unrestricted free agent.

When everyone is healthy, the Blues can field two top lines that look like this:

Schwartz Stastny Tarasenko
Fabbri Steen Perron

Everyone else has to fit in on the 3rd and 4th lines. Now I know that those 2 top lines aren’t written in permanent marker. Lines are juggled frequently. But the Blues already had plenty of options to fill in the bottom 6, and adding Sobotka muddies the water. Ivan Barbashev is playing really well. He played recently on a line with Tarasenko, assisting on one of his goals. So let’s say Barbashev slots in on the 3rd line. That moves Sobotka to the 4th line, which ousts Brodziak from the lineup. That doesn’t even take into account Berglund. Sobotka’s presence could hinder the ice time, and thus development, of promising players like Sanford and Barbashev.

I want to see those young players play. I want to see what they can contribute to the future Blues. I don’t really want to see more of Sobotka, who’s been here before. Sobotka’s a nice player, but he’s not a top 6 type, and the Blues need to see if Barbashev, Sanford, or Paajarvi can be a top 6 type.

This will all sort itself out in the playoffs, during the expansion draft, and the off-season, but for now, it’s a bit of a logjam.

Let the kids play. Thanks for reading.

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