The Nation Notebook: Sobotka Returns, Marchand Suspended, and Hedman Hits 70

Christian Pagnani
April 07 2017 07:00AM

NNNotebook

The Nation Network Notebook is a regular feature that rounds up interesting news, stories, and rumours from around the NHL that don’t quite deserve their own article. 

Vladimir Sobotka returns to the NHL. Brad Marchand gets a two-game vacation before the playoffs. Tyson Jost gets his first, and Viktor Hedman reaches 70 points.

SOBOTKA RETURNS

After three seasons in the KHL, Vladimir Sobotka returns to the St. Louis Blues. Sobotka had 102 points in 138 games with Avangard Omsk, and has a new three-year contract extension upon his return. He would have been an unrestricted free-agent, so the Blues clearly wanted to get something past a couple games for that last year awarded to them during arbitration years ago.

If Sobotka hasn't lost his game, he'll provide the Blues with some nice depth scoring, good possession metrics, and the ability to win a lot of draws. St. Louis already  has a few middle-six forwards in Patrik Berglund and Jori Lehtera signed, but Sobotka is cheaper than both and they might be hoping Vegas take a chance on Lehtera's contract in the expansion draft with how disappointing he's been.

MARCHAND GETS A COUPLE

This is some weak punishment from the NHL. Brad Marchand has been suspended numerous times before, and he wasn't close to making any sort of hockey play. Marchand will miss the final two games of the regular season, but will be available for the start of the playoffs.

Marchand doesn't exactly seem remorseful about it either. The NHL could have easily given him more and it would have been entirely warranted. He's a repeat offender, it was a viscous slash, and he even sticks him in the face when he turns around for good measure. Yeah, they're battling in front of the net, but the NHL should make it clear it doesn't matter whether you're a star forward or if the playoffs, you can't do that.

JOST GETS HIS FIRST

Colorado Avalanche fans don't have much to be happy about. Other than the season coming to end soon, 2016 first-round pick Tyson Jost might be the only saving grace of the season. Jost has signed his entry-level deal after scoring 35 points in 33 games for the University of North Dakota. He gets his first goal against the Minnesota Wild last night, and his grandfather's reaction might be the best part about it.

If you don't remember, Jost's grandpa is a bit of an emotional guy. He was there at his NHL debut, and when he was drafted. There's even a parody account of him on Twitter, which still has me debating whether it's awesome or just weird. I'm going to go with weird.

Jost's grandpa is awesome nonetheless, here's hoping he gets to see his grandson score a lot more goals.

HEDMAN HITS 70

The NHL now has three 70-point defencemen this season. Victor Hedman joins Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson, and is making a late push for the Norris. Hedman has upped his offensive game after putting up a few seasons between 40 and 50 points. His production this year is among the elite of the NHL, and is impressive with Steven Stamkos missing the majority of the season.

Hedman still has Nikita Kucherov to pass to, but he's played almost as much with rookie Jake Dotchin as he has with Anton Stralman this season. Part of this is due to the Lightning trying to form two pairings rather than over relying on Hedman-Stralman, but carrying around a rookie playing the minutes Hedman does is impressive. Add in a career-high in goals and points, and that Hedman contract looks like a steal for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Stats from eliteprospects.com and NHL.com.

Looking for playoff tickets? Get yourself in the building.

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I like to read and write about sports. I'm @chrispagnani on Twitter.
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