“Sobotka will join us as soon as he’s healthy,” he told sport-express. “Forget about St. Louises and other nonsense.” A similar report appeared recently at Championat.com.
Part of the reason many believe he could return to the KHL is a head coach change in Avangard. The team has hired Fedor Kanareykin to replace Eugene Kornoukhova, who Sobotka is reported to have been at odds with.
Reports of Sobotka’s return to the KHL fly in the face of reports from the St. Louis Post Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford, who says that Sobotka’s agent told Blues general manager Doug Armstrong as recently as Thursday that Sobotka’s plan is to return to the NHL and the Blues organization.
Armstrong spoke with Sobotka's agent, Petr Svoboda, YESTERDAY and the agent said Sobotka will rejoin the #stlblues this season.
— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) August 18, 2016
“I talked to the agent yesterday, and he said [Sobotka] will be here,” Armstrong wrote to Rutherford in a text message.
Shocking that there are wildly different reports coming out of the NHL and the KHL. It will surely go down in history as the first time that’s ever happened.
Being reported Vladimir Sobotka will soon join Avangard. Omsk has a new head coach which was significant to Sobotka decison. #stlblues
— Siberian Tiger (@Siberian91Tiger) August 18, 2016
The 29-year-old Sobotka left for the KHL after four seasons with the Blues due to a contract dispute. However, his current KHL contract is believed to have an out-clause for an NHL return.
Rutherford reports that Sobotka is believed to be in the Czech Republic waiting to finalize the termination of his KHL contract.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.