Pros: Cap space
We can talk all we want about what can you get in return, what’s a fair return and all that. The bottom line is, if you do trade Tarasenko, you’re looking to get the full $7.5 million in cap space freed up.
There are rumblings that the St. Louis Blues might have to retain some of the salary to make a deal work. To me, that’s a no go. One of the only benefits of trading him away is if you get that full amount of space to work with.
The Blues are already up near the cap. Give or take, they have a little over $17 million in space for 2021-22.
However, if you actually look into CapFriendly, that $17 million does not include Oskar Sundqvist, who is still listed on LTIR. His salary drops that free space to roughly $15 million, again give or take.
$15 million sounds great, but that has to cover seven roster spots. That averages out to $2 million per spot.
Your roster won’t be very good if you’re full of guys only making $2 million. So, you would need the entirety of Tarasenko’s cap space to be free to make legitimate moves for bigger guys.
If you want to make a splash, you can eat up the full $7.5 million and take up a portion of your $15 million on one, bigger name player. You can also go with quantity over quality and spread that Tarasenko money out on two players while you use up the rest of the money to give raises to the appropriate players out of your own free agent pool.
In this situation, much of the money issue would depend on what you got in return. Do you want only draft picks and prospects to keep the entire salary freed up or do you want an NHL player in return, in which case your flexibility is lessened, but you have a proven commodity.
Issues for Doug Armstrong to wrestle with.