Trade rumors have percolated about Vladimir Tarasenko since the St. Louis Blues’ early exit from the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs. They boiled over Thursday as The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford reported he requested a trade several weeks ago. The 29-year-old winger is unhappy with how the club’s medical staff handled two of his three shoulder surgeries.
Moving Tarasenko could be difficult, He carries a no-trade clause but Rutherford believes he’s provided management with a 10-team trade list. The five-time 30-scorer has two years left on his contract with an annual average value of $7.5 million.
Tarasenko could prefer playing for a contender. That could be a narrow market as Rutherford pointed out half of this season’s playoff clubs have limited cap space. His injury history is also a sticking point. Still, there should be some clubs interested in adding a top-line sniper.
Rutherford suggested the New York Islanders and New York Rangers as possible destinations. The Islanders, however, are squeezed for cap space and must re-sign Anthony Beauvillier, Adam Pelech and Ilya Sorokin.
With $23 million in cap space, the Rangers could have enough room once they re-sign Pavel Buchnevich and Igor Shesterkin. Tarasenko would be a fine addition to their top line alongside Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad. Taking on his cap hit, however, could complicate efforts to re-sign Zibanejad before his UFA eligibility next summer.
The Nashville Predators have $22.8 million in cap space and lack a first-line right wing after trading winger Viktor Arvidsson to the Los Angeles Kings. Boston Hockey Now’s Joe Haggerty pointed out the Bruins have over $30 million in cap room. He suggested offering the Blues a first-round pick, Jake DeBrusk and St. Louis native Trent Frederic.