The St. Louis Blues are still one of the most interesting teams to watch this offseason. Despite a public trade request and a hot stove that was on fire earlier this summer, Vladimir Tarasenko still hasn’t been dealt. Training camp opens in just a few weeks and members of the team, including head coach Craig Berube, are now starting to have to explain how they’ll treat him like any other player should the season open with him on the roster. This isn’t how it was expected to go, but a trade involving the oft-injured sniper was always going to be difficult.

One of the biggest hurdles in any transaction is Tarasenko’s contract, which carries a cap hit of $7.5MM this season and next. It also includes a full no-trade clause, and though the 29-year-old winger is obviously willing to waive that for the right situation, contending teams would be hard-pressed to find enough cap space to fit him in. That’s where a middle man comes in, as reports had previously surfaced about teams–including the Seattle Kraken, up to the expansion draft–that would be willing to retain some of the salary as a go-between for a Tarasenko trade. We saw plenty of transactions like that at the deadline this season as teams struggled to deal with the flat salary cap.