Vladimir Tarasenko feels “comfortable” as newest member of Rangers

Vladimir Tarasenko Rangers trade rumors
Vladimir Tarasenko (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
AP Photos

The news of Vladimir Tarasenko’s trade to the New York Rangers may have come as a surprise to many fans and analysts over the course of Thursday afternoon, but it didn’t to the former Stanley Cup Champion.

After spending 11 years in St. Louis and winning a Stanley Cup, the 2x All-Star joins the New York Rangers in a move that looks to be the final piece to the Blueshirts championship puzzle. 

“I’m happy to join the New York Rangers, join some friends of mine. Guys seem very nice, they gave me a warm welcome and I feel very good.” Tarasenko said Friday morning. 

The buildup of a trade for the Blues’ top player had reportedly been in the works for days according to Tarasenko. A mix of silent contract negotiations and a trade request hovering over the last several years led to the Blues finding a trade partner in New York. 

“I was expecting this. It’s been a couple of tough days for me. I expected to be moved. I’m here now…there was no chance I was staying in St. Louis. No deal was offered.” Tarasenko added.  “I knew I was going to be moved. I talked with Artemi (Panarin) and they wanted me here. I want to be here too.”

St. Louis has been trying to figure out a solution to the Tarasenko conundrum for a few years now. The Russian winger requested a trade years ago and was rumored to be on the move during the offseason but nothing came to fruition. 

Even then, Tarasenko understands that he wasn’t the one who facilitated the deal.

“It’s not on me. I have the no-trade clause but it’s not on me when the trade came.”

One of the key reasons why the trade was able to work for both sides was because of the relationship between Panarin and Tarasenko. The two stars go back all the way to the 2011 World Juniors. Both Russian players may have played on different lines then, but now will be working together to try and get New York back to the playoffs. 

“Good trade to have for our organization. So happy to have him on our team. He’s my old friend. I’m happier than everyone.” Panarin stated. 

Even with his recent arrival, Tarasenko understands that saying goodbye to the Blues organization that started his career won’t be easy. 

“I haven’t really addressed anything yesterday but if I have a chance I want to say thank you to St. Louis. It’s been a couple of tough days but I’ll do it later. I’m very thankful for all those years and they made us feel like family and feel like home.” The Cup-winner said. 

Tarasenko’s numbers may not be up to his usual standard in past years (10 goals and 29 points), but he brings a level of scoring to the top line the Rangers desperately were looking for. That experience and ability to score will pair well with the playmaking abilities of Panarin and Zibanejad on the top line. 

With his family expected to be in attendance for Friday night’s contest against Seattle, the allure of playing in the world’s most famous arena was certainly icing on the cake.

“First, the building, it’s always exciting to play there. They have a goal here to win a cup which is very exciting.” Tarasenko concluded. 

A trade like the one the Rangers pulled off yesterday will shoot them as top favorites in the Eastern Conference. Though still behind New Jersey and Carolina in the standings, the Rangers have an excellent chance to go further than even last year’s team which used strong deadline moves all the way to the Eastern Conference finals. 

But even the Rangers head coach understands that nothing is won on paper. 

“Last year it worked perfectly, but it hasn’t worked yet this year. We got two pieces we really liked. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t.” Gerard Gallant said. “The games decide that.”

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