St. Louis Blues: Vladimir Tarasenko Still Doesn’t Have HIS Center

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 06: Vladimir Tarasenko
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 06: Vladimir Tarasenko /

The St. Louis Blues are still in a great position, despite all the hollering we do as fans. They could use some upgrades though and center might still be a position of need.

The St. Louis Blues made a heck of a discovery when they acquired Brayden Schenn from the Philadelphia Flyers. It’s not as though nobody knew he was a good player, but the Flyers certainly didn’t think he would be this good when they got rid of him.

Flyers fans are likely still wondering why it happened. Schenn was not in a contract year and was not breaking the bank. The only thing that makes any sense is the Flyers were desperate to gain that draft pick.

As good as Schenn, and the entire team, was at the start of the season, this recent cool-down proves that an additional piece would not be a bad thing. However, we might be looking at the wrong areas.

So far, almost all the players mentioned as trade possibilities for the Blues have been wingers. I am here to argue the Blues should actually be looking up the middle once more.

Evander Kane, Mike Hoffman and Max Pacioretty all have big upsides if you could swing that kind of move. It would require sending a big name and perhaps a pick and prospect as well to make it work, but it could be worth it.

However, the Blues have some good players that are underachieving on the wing. All those other players would be wingers. You can argue that Hoffman can play center, but he’s been a wing for most of his NHL career.

There is an argument to be made that another wing that will score will help Vladimir Tarasenko. I say he still needs his own centerman.

We can sit around and argue whether Schenn is a number one center. That’s not the point here.

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The point is he has been the team’s best center, but he formed an instant chemistry with Jaden Schwartz. Schenn currently has 44 points as of the team’s bye week, but he had 34 of those through the 30 games he played alongside Schwartz.

St. Louis does still have Paul Stastny, but, for whatever reason, Stastny and Tarasenko have never quite clicked either. It is not as though they don’t play well together, but they don’t have that really good chemistry.

Stastny only has four assists on Tarasenko goals through 46 games. Unlike many fans, I think Stastny has been fine in his time in St. Louis.

The issue is fine is not good enough compared to what we thought he could do. He is on pace to set highs for his time in St. Louis and we still are not happy enough with his performance.

So, it seems as though the Blues still do not have a center for Tarasenko himself.

Now, nobody is kidding themselves here. The Blues have clearly tried and centers don’t grow on trees. Acquiring one, whether at the deadline or in the summer is not going to be easy.

It does need to be something the team considers though. Tarasenko still needs his version of Adam Oates.

You could make the case, still, that a winger solves some problems. Perhaps the addition of another winger gives Stastny more options and he forms more of a connection with Tarasenko.

There is also the possibility of putting Tarasenko back on the Schwartz and Schenn line. If you can’t acquire a center, that might be the best fit.

Schwartz has seven assists on Tarasenko goals. Schenn has six. That is not a ton more than four, but Tarasenko has not been afforded as much time with those two since injuries kept moving the lines around.

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It would be amazing to have a real center/winger pairing for Tarasenko. Imagine having combinations of Schenn/Schwartz, Tarasenko/name your player and Stastny/Tage Thompson or whomever.

Any change comes with risk. However, adding a center now eases the pressure on Robert Thomas later.

Maybe the Blues can pull off another steal, like they did with Schenn.