It appears as though the more time passes, the less advantageous it is for the St. Louis Blues and their hopes in trading right-winger, Vladimir Tarasenko.
The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford reported on Thursday morning that the Blues have “miscalculated” the market for Tarasenko and that the 29-year-old “should have been traded by now and… the Blues are only further diminishing his value by hanging on to him this long.”
A fully healthy Tarasenko would have had the NHL in a fever pitch. The star winger averaged 36 goals per season from 2014-2019. But three shoulder surgeries have cast doubt over just how viable the Russian could be to a team’s top line, if he could regain that kind of scoring touch, and if he’s worth giving up assets for a $7.5 million cap hit over the next two years.
Previous reports have shed some light on the situation, as Rutherford himself disclosed that two of Tarasenko’s procedures should have been avoided. Blues team physicians did not rectify Trasenko’s shoulder issue in each of the first two surgeries, but an outside surgeon in Colorado who performed the third surgery has stated that he completely fixed the area.
Tarasenko at full strength would make any team better, but St. Louis’ hesitance on the market has seen its potential lists of suitors dwindle.
The Vegas Golden Knights have traded for Evgenii Dadonov, the Montreal Canadiens signed former Blues forward Mike Hoffman to a three-year, $13.5 deal, the Los Angeles Kings inked Phillip Danault to a six-year, $33 million deal, and the New Jersey Devils just spent major money on defenseman Dougie Hamilton in a seven-year, $63 million pact.
But the Fourth Period’s Dave Pagnotta reported on Wednesday that both the New York Islanders and Rangers have been in talks with the Blues, which could set off another local rivalry for a marquee player.
The Islanders — who were one of two teams to not make a signing on the first day of free agency on Wednesday — have to replace (and upgrade from) first-line winger Jordan Eberle, who was lost to the Seattle Kraken during the expansion draft.
While rumors continue to swirl about retaining forward Kyle Palmieri and bringing on veteran Zach Parise, Tarasenko would provide an enormous boost next to Mathew Barzal and Anders Lee if healthy.
One of the only ways such a deal could work, however, is if the Blues retain some of Tarasenko’s salary. The Islanders also have to bring back Casey Cizikas while striking new deals with restricted free agents in defenseman Adam Pelech, goalie Ilya Sorokin, and potentially winger Anthony Beauvillier.
As for the Rangers, Tarasenko would provide an obvious choice to put on the first line alongside Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad, should he remain with the team this offseason. That would allow the Rangers to flex second-year winger Alexis Lafreniere to the middle six, ensuring that not too much pressure is put on his shoulders while he continues to develop to life in the NHL.
The last time the Islanders and Rangers had eyes on the same target, it was the Blueshirts who came away with the signature of Artemi Panarin, who chose Broadway over Long Island despite the Islanders offering him a larger contract.