What is expected to be an active offseason for the Blues now has a clear No. 1 priority: trading Vladimir Tarasenko.
Tarasenko has officially requested a trade from the club, multiple sources have told The Athletic.
The right winger asked for the move earlier this offseason, and Blues general manager Doug Armstrong is currently attempting to facilitate the deal, according to league and team sources. There is no apparent timetable for a move, but the expectation is that it could happen before the start of the 2021-22 season.
Tarasenko, 29, is entering the seventh year of an eight-year, $60 million contract ($7.5 million annual average value). His full no-trade clause kicked in two years ago.
He joins a fairly substantial list of NHL stars who could potentially be changing uniforms this offseason: Buffalo’s Jack Eichel, Columbus’ Seth Jones, Washington’s Evgeny Kuznetsov, Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau and Arizona’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson are among the names out there.
So why did Tarasenko request a trade? What are the likely destinations for him? What could Armstrong get in return? And with the protected list for the upcoming Seattle expansion draft due on July 17, is a deal imminent?
Let’s dive in …
Why did Tarasenko request a trade?
Tarasenko was drafted No. 16 overall by the Blues in 2010. He’s the second-longest-tenured player on the roster behind Jaden Schwartz. He was part of the franchise’s first Stanley Cup.
So why does he want out? According to sources familiar with the situation, he is upset with the team’s handling of his shoulder surgeries in 2018 and 2019 — his first two of three such surgeries, which were both performed by Blues physicians — and feels there’s no trust left between him and the organization.
In March, The Athletic wrote about those procedures and a third one, in 2020, which was carried out by non-club doctors at the Steadman Clinic in Edwards, Colo. The ligament damage from the first injury was not corrected in either of the first two operations, sources say, and wasn’t caught until Tarasenko was seen by the doctors at Steadman.