Buffalo Sabres: Determining which UFAs will return next season

KeyBank Center Buffalo Sabres (Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images)
KeyBank Center Buffalo Sabres (Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images) /
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Buffalo Sabres
Vladimir Sobotka of the Buffalo Sabres (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Vladimir Sobotka

Vladimir Sobotka has had some serviceable seasons during his time in the NHL, including as recently as the 2017-18 season when he was still a member of the St. Louis Blues. More generally speaking, you don’t last as long playing hockey as he has, without having something about you.

Sobotka arrived in Buffalo as part of the trade which saw Ryan O’Reilly move to St. Louis and prove himself by helping the Blues win a Stanley Cup. As Buffalo sports fans are used to expecting, they have had no such joy despite the return package actually being a good one.

In respect of Sobotka specifically, his time with the Buffalo Sabres has been essentially nondescript. The statistics tell their own story, with 16 points (six goals and 10 assists) in 85 games and a -20 plus/minus rating.

Those defending the 32-year-old, will tell you he is more renowned for his defense. However, even this aspect has been uninspiring the majority of the time, with his lack of size and physicality not helping the cause.

Perhaps the best way to summarize Sobotka’s tenure in Western New York, is the knee injury he suffered early in the 2019-20 campaign. He underwent surgery, was ruled out indefinitely and placed on the long-term injured reserve list.

The 2005 fourth round draft pick has carried a cap hit of $3.5 million during this campaign. The Sabres will, quite honestly, just be happy to get him off the payroll.

Chance of returning next season: 0 percent