Vladimir Tarasenko Update

The Vladimir Tarasenko trade talks have simmered down recently, but that doesn’t mean that something won’t happen. The former star and the Blues have unfortunately made their relationship un-mendable leaving Tarasenko, and the Blues organization, in a less that ideal spot. It started with the shoulder injuries that he previously sustained however, it ended when the organization wanted a list of teams he’d be willing to go to. There is a lot of points that I didn’t touch up on, if you want to read about the other points I missed, you can go read the article link I’ll paste at the bottom of this article but for now I just want to talk about the options still available to the Blues.

Vladimir Tarsenko’s injury history has scared many teams away however, knowing the potential he has to become that player he used to be has kept teams interested. From multiple articles and research done, it appears the main candidates are the Islanders, and the Devils.

New Jersey Devils

The Devils have been making a big stride this off-season with the signing of Dougie Hamilton, Tomas Tatar, but still could use more offense. Right now they have a solid top six defense, but their offensive lines are fairly weak. Adding a player with the talent of Tarasenko could be vital given their current situation.

Looking at what Tarasenko would offer them is going to be the best argument a person could make, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. To anyone who follows the NHL, they know that Tarasenko isn’t the same star he was, that is clear however, there is more to it than that. The big reasoning behind Taraenko’s decline as a player is due to the injuries he’s sustained in the past couple seasons, and the fact he hasn’t had time to fully heal. Should he heal and be 100%, he could come back and be a top player in the NHL in no time.

The Devils as I stated above have a good situation on the defense, but are looking to obtain some stars on their offensive lines. Tarasenko, when healthy, could easily become their best player and be a player that can help them win. The depth on their offensive lines needs to be considered as well, but being able to gather a player like Tarasenko gives you another option while the players in the AHL develop for another year or two.

Not saying that Tarasenko makes them a competitor this year, but with his help, they could try making a run sooner rather than later.

New York Islanders

The New York Islanders are close to getting to the Stanley Cup but need another addition to their offense. With that said, there are a few names that should be considered, but the cheapest and the best available at this point is, Vladimir Tarasenko.

The Islanders are obviously so close to making it to the Stanley Cup after losing game seven to the Tampa Bay Lightning 1-0. Being as close as they are, they need to find a way to add another superstar that can help put the puck in the goal for them. Prior to the off-season, I considered them a contender for both Sam Rhinehart and Jack Eichel, but after Rhinehart was traded, and not much on the Eichel front, Tarasenko is the best available option. Being able to tag Barzal and Tarasenko on a line together could be incredibly dangerous looking forward.

The Islanders have been partially linked to Tarasenko for most of the off-season, and given the lack of cap space for the Blues, they have to get rid of his contract. Islanders who seem almost excited to get Tarasenko seem like the best opportunity for the Blues. The amount they’d get in return isn’t going to be much, but would help the Blues clear some cap space in order to not keep them as tight financially as they currently are.

Vladimir Tarasenko’s value

The former Blues star had requested a trade roughly about a month ago, but at this time, he is still a St. Louis Blue. There are a lot of question circling around the Blues fan base, but it’s hard to sum it up into just one thing. As just about everyone knows, Tarasenko has been battling injuries for the last couple years which has depleted his value tremendously. He has battled three shoulder surgeries that has really de-railed his career from stardom to a decent second line wing.

Come the start of the offseason, the Blues were exploring trade possibilities however, it’s a different story when the player demands to be traded. After The Athletics, Jeremy Rutherford did some digging, he reported that Tarasenko’s reasoning behind requesting a trade was plain and simple: He was unhappy with the medical care he received from the Blues staff. However, looking at where he is coming from, it’s hard not to say he’s completely in the right.

After re-injuring his shoulder, he was sent to see the Blues doctors to diagnose to problem in which he opted to have surgery. Prior to re-injuring his shoulder, and before rejoining the team in the Edmonton bubble, he complained about discomfort in his shoulder. He believed that they had waited to long to do anything about the injury which resulted in him having to get yet another surgery. When he found out about having to get yet another shoulder surgery, and his unpleasantness with how the medical staff treated him, he decided to get it done with the doctors at Stedman.

Going into this season, he felt there was no trust left between him and the organization which resulted in even more problems. Given his performance during the regular season, he was then given the role of playing the net on the power play which didn’t sit well with him. Although, that reason was a factor in him requesting a trade, he also was not happy when he was not given the captain badge to start the season. Given everything he’d given to the organization, he was not happy that he didn’t receive the captain badge which in other terms, “sunk the boat”.

What is taking so long?

When it comes to trading away a player like Tarasenko there is going to be a lot of arguments within the trade talks. Tarasenko is a former star, and despite the injuries, he still has the ability to be that player. With that being said, he hasn’t proven in two years that he can stay healthy and be the same player that he once was. So do you trade him on the value of his past, and his name? Do you trade him to his most recent performance? Or do you trade him on what he can do should he get healthy? That’s where the problem lays.

Tarasenko came into the league and immediately made an impact on the Blues organization. The Blues had been looking to find a player who could produce the same way that Brett Hull did in the 1990s, but there was no luck until Tarasenko came around. Although Tarasenko didn’t put up the same number of points that Hull did, he was the first player since Hull that could put up 40 goal seasons. It was that talent and ability that ended up transpiring and inspiring so many fans in St. Louis. He was a leader to the Blues locker room, and if he felt that his injuries should’ve received more attention, then that’s the case. However, the bridge is burned and it’s time to move on.

Looking at where trade talks could go from here in their current state, it’s unclear. Once again it’s been conflicting in the Blues front office as they want to ensure they get value back for him, but his name isn’t on the same pedestal that it use to be. Jeremy Rutherford released an article that stated that one of the hold up’s was in fact the asking price however, there is still a lot of problems that shouldn’t be dismissed.

Tarasenko was left unprotected in the expansion draft, and when he wasn’t selected, many teams felt that was a sign that he shouldn’t even be worth their time at all. The thought that they can go out and sign a player in free agency that is going to cost them a lot less and no assets seems like the direction most teams went. There is supposedly a couple teams that are still interested, but after the expansion draft, most of the teams that were previously interested are no longer.

Did their Plan Backfire?

The Blues are currently in a situation that, if what I heard was right, backfired on them. Armstrong has his back against the wall and is trying to find his way out with no escape. It seemed given all the rumors and talk amongst people that are connected that they were looking to wait out the free agents in hope of raising Tarasenko’s draft stock, that is not the case.

Tarasenko, as I stated above, has had a rough road throughout the past couple seasons that he hasn’t quite bounced back from. However, I believe that Armstrong was waiting out the top free agents in order to take advantage of the Tarasenko name. After Ovechkin re-signed, Schwartz signed, Landeskog signed, there were not many names out there that were better than Tarasenko, and Armstrong was planning on capitalizing on that fact. However, after most of the free agents have gone off the board, it’s been coming to the attention of people that it had the opposite affect. With the asking price of Tarasenko being too high, teams went all in on the first day of free agency to replace the holes on their team.

There are still a couple names available including one of the top names in free agency, Brandon Saad. Saad was one of the names I was hoping at the start of free agency the Blues would target, but after doing some digging prior to this article, the Blues weren’t even interested in the winger it appears as they made no contact with him. The St. Louis Blues had the ability to re-sign Mike Hoffman, and Jaden Schwartz to help fill out the wing depth, but they didn’t. On top of not re-signing anyone from the Blues that could make an impact, they didn’t even go after anyone valuable today. However, one thing came clear thanks to free agency and that is: What team is most likely to land Tarasenko?

Could the Islanders land Tarasenko?

There were a lot of signings made yesterday that sent a lot of very good players to better opportunities. However, there were only two teams that didn’t make any form of a transaction yesterday: The St. Louis Blues and the New York Islanders.

This past season was a odd to say the least given what had happened the year before. The NHL was put into the bubble due to COVID restrictions which resulted in players having to bounce back quicker than normal. Hockey is an very physical sports that leads to a lot of injuries already, so having only a couple months to bounce back from those injuries was going to be difficult. Regardless of circumstance, there were a few teams that were able to shine this past season, like the New York Islanders.

The Islanders came so close to being in the Stanley Cup but fell short in Game seven against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Islanders, being as close as they were, were going to be going all in on adding a couple elite players to help get their team to the Stanley Cup this next season, and it appears that they think Tarasenko could be the key. Despite the tendency to get hurt, in game four against the Avalanche, Tarasenko was by far and away the best player on the ice for the Blues. It was also reported by a person close to Tarasenko that he was playing while still recovering. However, it was also reported that he feels that Tarasenko’s shoulder has never been stronger and he said that he is 100%.

Being able to obtain Tarasenko and have him with Mathew Barzal, and Anders Lee could be a very scary and dangerous line. However, looking at some mock trades, Doug Armstrong will have to determine if he believes this team can win a Stanley Cup or if it’s time to start a re-build in hopes of competing again after 4-5 years. Matt O’Leary of the Eyes on Isles wrote up a mock draft in which it would send Tarasenko to the Islanders and in return the Blues would receive a 2022 first-round pick, 2022 second-round pick, and RHD prospect, Bode Wilde. If the Blues believe in their young players enough to give them a chance, and in the meantime word on developing a good prospect pool, they could find themselves back to competing again in the matter of only a couple years.

Outlook for the Blues: Post Landeskog Signing

The St. Louis Blues are looking to find their way back to the Stanley Cup, and that starts with building a team capable of making it there. The Blues have a tough division, and it’s going to be difficult for them to make it back, but not impossible. Armstrong is a heavy hitter in the off-season and will not accept a team that looses and he will do everything in his power to get them to the Stanley Cup. With that being said, the Blues didn’t make it there this past season, and Armstrong has already made one significant move, and he’s not done.

The St. Louis Blues are looking to obtain some offensive talent this offseason and there was one name that many Blues fans were hopping for: Gabriel Landeskog. Landeskog is a veteran presence that the Blues are currently lacking, and even more importantly is a terrific goal scorer. With the uncertainty of Tarasenko, and Schwartz gone, the Blues are in a need to find some players on the wing. However, it was reported late last night that Landeskog is returning to the Colorado Avalanche on a 8yr/$56mil contract. So with Landeskog off the board, what could the Blues do this off-season?

It was reported that Armstrong had made offers to the free agents: Kyrou, Sanford, Thomas, Joshua, and Barbashev, but there was one name that I felt should’ve been mentioned on that list: Mike Hoffman. Last off-season the Blues were able to get Hoffman very cheap due to it being a late signing, and it was a valuable signing at that. Hoffman was big part to the Blues this past season given his power play ability, and the ability to be a sniper along the perimeter. It was reported earlier today that Hoffman is a contingency plan for the Blues depending on the situation with Tarasenko. The Blues have reportedly offered Hoffman a contract, but should Tarasenko get moved, they will look to bring him on for a long term contract. With that being said, why hasn’t Tarasenko been moved yet?

After talking back and forth with some people in the Blues community, It was agreed upon that the Landeskog signing actually helps the Blues more than it hurts. Now you’re probably asking how that could possibly be when Landeskog was the main target for the Blues, but it helps more than think. With Landeskog off the board, Ovechkin off the board, and Schwartz off the board, there are not many forwards left that teams will be able to target. Looking at some of the names that are still available via trade or free agency, the only player that is arguably better than Tarasenko would be Jack Eichel. Once Jack Eichel is moved, Tarasenko’s value will be the highest around the league in which Armstrong will be able to get the most in return for him at that point in time. Once Tarasenko is moved, and his contract is off the books, he will be able to officially get started in free agency and filling out the team and making trades.

Pavel Buchnevich is A Blue

Last Friday the St. Louis Blues acquired right winger, Pavel Buchnevich, from the New York Rangers in exchange for Sammy Blais and a 2022 second-round pick. Yesterday, it was reported that the Blues had extended an offer to the wing, and today he had officially excepted accepted. The Blues now have Buchenvich locked up for 4yrs with a salary of $23.2 million.

After a first round exit by the St. Louis Blues, it was clear that Doug Armstrong needed to make a big move. As far as general managers go, his ability and willingness to make a move is what Blues fans admire about him. With that being said, Armstrong went out and made it his priority to find a trade that would help them immediately. Looking at what the biggest problem was against the Avalanche was their inability to score right alongside them, and with that being said they were able to get a goal scorer in Pavel Buchnevich.

There is a lot left to accomplish this off-season, but they were able to check a goal scorer off the list. Pavel was a third-round pick in 2013, and this past season was able to tally 20 goals, 28 assists for 48 points. He has been with the Rangers for the past five seasons and has proven to be a productive player which the Blues happened to be in search of.

Their is a lot that Armstrong still has to do, but he is off to a good start with the acquisition of Pavel Buchnevich.

St. Louis Blues Draft Recap

The NHL entry draft is officially over, and the that means that all the players drafted are now onto bigger and better things. The Blues were without a second-round pick, fourth-round pick, and a sixth-round pick, but were still able to come away with four new players in their affiliate league. When it comes to the players the Blues drafted their seemed to be a rather one-sided approach, goal-scorers.

1.17: Zachary Bolduc, LW, Rimouski Oceanic

The St. Louis Blues had a lot of attention on them throughout the draft, but one of the more surprising picks in the draft would be their first overall selection, Zachary Bolduc. The Blues had been tied to defenseman, Carson Lambos, prior to the draft and have also had reports of Matthew Coronato. After Coronato had been taken, if they had any interest at all, they settled on Bolduc.

Zachary Bolduc was ranked on most big boards as a top 28-35 player, so getting taken at 17 was probably quite the shock. I was surprised by the reach given some of the names still available however, after reading up on Bolduc, he is exactly what I want in a player.

After being drafted by the St. Louis Blues there were a lot of people calling for interviews and asking questions, but after the draft pick was made and listening to what the insiders had to say about him, he was already one of my favorites in the draft. The reporters were saying that he used to spend so many hours on the rink that in order to get him to stop, they had to reprimand him. On top of being a ice rink junkie, he is also a smooth playmaker, very good goal scorer, and shows a high ceiling.

When it comes to creating a team, and building a team, having guys like Bolduc are the risks you need to take. You can find a player who can come into the league and be good, but take a risk on a player with developmental traits then you may find a superstar.

Bolduc played in 27 games in the QMJHL this past season, in those games he was able to score 10 goals, and 19 assists for 29 points. Looking at where he is coming from and who he was able to learn from is another big upside to his game. Last season Bolduc was able to play with the first overall pick, and future superstar, Alexis Lafreniere. Learning and developing alongside a talent like Alexis could be a big part to how he translates as a player through the AHL.

3.71: Simon Robertsson, RW, Skelleftea

The St. Louis Blues had a pretty good first selection with a lot of upside, after reading up on Simon Robertsson and watching film, this has the potential to be the best selection by the Blues this season. Robertsson was quoted as a top 20-40 player in this draft, as you can see above they were able to grab him with the 71st pick.

Simon played in both the Swedish junior level and in the worlds which he was able to put on display his talent against bigger and better competition. The biggest question mark for Robertsson is simply consistency and ability to make an impact every-time he steps on the ice. As far as his skillset goes, he has the a lot of things working for him. He has incredible puck handling that is commonly seen in situations that would cause for a deke instead of being checked. Although not much of a fancy puck handler, he still has the ability to keep the puck on his stick through traffic. He was able to create a lot of chances of his ability to get through traffic and find the open pass. With that being said, he is an incredibly fundamental and smart player when it comes to his playmaking ability. With the ability to be creative when it comes to making plays on the perimeter or taking the puck to the net and hit the backdoor pass, he’s always looking to make an impact.

There were multiple things that he said he can do well, but perhaps the best part of his game is his electric shot. His ability to get the wrist shot off is something that reminds me of Vladimir Tarasenko. Watching his wrist shot is like watching a bullet getting shot out of a gun. His upside and potential to be a top tier goal scorer in the future is what makes his game so fun and exciting.

5.145: Tyson Galloway, D, Calgary

The St. Louis Blues have drafted a right wing and a C/LW prior to this pick however, with their third pick in the draft they selected: Tyson Galloway, D, Calgary. Their was a lot of people who said that he plays a lot like former Blues defenseman and current Montreal Canadiens defenseman, Joel Edmundson. The Blues have a lot of holes towards the end of last season, but perhaps the player that was most missed was Edmundson. Not having a stay at home defenseman was a big part to a bigger problem that they had, but having a guy who has drown multiple comparisons to him could be a huge get. He was fairly unproductive from a statistical point of view, but if he can become a stay-at-home defenseman capable to playing at the NHL level, he could be a huge get for the Blues.

7.198: Ivan Vorobyov, RW, Khanty-Mansiysk

The St. Louis Blues are in a win now position, that means that they need to find upside players in the later rounds. Ivan Vorobyov is a incredible talent, and was extremely productive in his time with Khanty-Mansisyk. While there isn’t much film on him to break down his film, off the highlights I was able to find, he appears to have a incredible skill-set that reminds me of a player similar to Mathew Barzal. He’s incredibly smooth with the puck on his stick, and is a very good goal scorer and playmaker. As far as upside goes, he is going to be a name to watch out for.