Name: Vladimir Sobotka
Regular season, EV: 13.43% w/Miroslav Satan and Milan Lucic; 10.23% w/David Krejci and Michael Ryder
Playoffs, EV: 54.01% w/Ryder and Blake Wheeler; 9.39% w/Ryder and Daniel Paille
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The Good: Was there a more physical player in Black-and-Gold for the first round of the playoffs than Sobotka? Even throughout the entire season, on a consistent basis, No. 60 threw his weight around ice, night-in night-out. The 5’10″ sparkplug registered 30 hits in the six games against Buffalo, and despite a shoulder injury, still managed to notch 40 total for the post season (third most). And his 136 hits, in 61 regular season games played, was fourth-most on the squad.
An underrated face-off guy, Sobotka won 196-of-361 (54.3%) draws during the regular season, and 67-of-124 (54%) during the playoffs.
The Bad: A minus-7 during the regular season. and a team-worst minus-10 in the playoffs. The shoulder injury certainly slowed down Sobotka’s overall play, especially in the second round against Philly. But when the Czech Republic native wasn’t throwing hits or winning face-offs, he was pedestrian at best. Although a hard-worker who hustles on every shift, the 22-year-old failed to put up respectable numbers in both the regular (10 points) and post season (two points) as a third-line center.
Only stellar first-round play and the “injury excuse” kept Sobotka from “D” status. If the RFA Sobotka gets re-signed (which I don’t want to see if it’s more than his $750K cap-hit of last season), then he’ll join the crew of centers Drew Larman and Zach Hamill, along with forwards Mikko Lehtonen, Brad Marchand, and even Maxime Sauve—all battling for a Bruins roster spot for this upcoming 2010-11 NHL season.
With the plethora of current players and prospects at the center position—and being a natural centerman himself—Sobotka had a tough time switching to wing duties. If he can improve his game during this offseason, and perhaps become more comfortable at the wing, then the better the chances he has in Boston.
Next report card: No. 73 Michael Ryder
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