Profiling Vladimir Tarasenko as a trade target
The Athletic's Jeremy Rutherford reported last night that St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko, coming off three shoulder surgeries in the past three years, has had enough with the organization and has requested a trade.
There were few scorers between 2014-19 that were more consistently potent than Tarasenko. The former 16th overall pick scored at least 33 goals in each of those years, peaking at 40 in the 2015-16 season. Eventually, Tarasenko helped lead the Blues to a Stanley Cup victory to cap off the 2018-19 season, but his career has been all downhill since reaching the peak, as a procession of shoulder injuries have limited him to 34 games since.
A series of reported disagreements with his organization -- making relative newcomer Ryan O’Reilly the team captain, mishandling his medical situation, and playing him at the net-front on the power play in favour of one-year rental Mike Hoffman -- has soured Tarasenko on the Blues, and the sense is that they will be just as happy to sever this relationship.
Tarasenko has two seasons left on a deal that carries a $7.5-million cap hit, once considered one of the league’s premier bargains but now a burden that might be tough to move. In the flat cap landscape, making that kind of investment even in the short term is not an easy decision, let alone for a scorer who has played so few games of late, with only seven goals to show for his last two years of action, and has a troubling injury history that specifically threatens the skill set that made him a star in the first place.
So the question is, what kind of player can we expect Tarasenko to be moving forward? How have injuries affected his game in the past two seasons, and what once made him a star? Who would be a good fit?
From 2014-15 to 2018-19, Vladimir Tarasenko was one of the NHL’s truly elite players, impacting the game with a consistency that few matched in that period.
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