Cons: No FA’s fit the bill
Springboarding off the question of what you get in return for the trade, you almost need to get some sort of proven, NHL talent in return for Tarasenko. That’s because none of the pending free agents fit all the categories Tarasenko does.
There are players available that might give you similar offensive production, such as Gabriel Landeskog. However, if he slips away from Colorado and hits the open market, he is going to cost more than Tarasenko currently does.
There are players available that will cost you what Tarasenko earns, or maybe even slightly less. They’re not going to get you 30 goals, however.
The NHL has tons of contracts out there with guys getting paid $6 million or more and their goal totals are in the teens. That’s not a good enough value.
Another issue is the amount of aging players available in the 2021 free agent class. Many of the big names available are in their 30’s, which is a gray area of still having a few good years left or being past your prime.
Lots of names are thrown out, but few, if any are the same package Tarasenko is. People complain about Tarasenko’s physicality or defensive ability, but apparently think Mike Hoffman is better in any of those areas? Hoffman is also two years older.
Brandon Saad is a year younger, but has not scored as many points nor goals as Tarasenko. He did hit 31 goals once, but that was immediately upon joining Columbus when he was basically giving the middle finger to Chicago for letting him go (which circles back to the con of Tarasenko having a rebound year).
Alex Ovechkin still seems capable of scoring 30-plus goals, but he’s 36 and making $9.5 million. He’s not going to take a discount anywhere besides Washington.
Tarasenko is more physical than given credit for. He’s more consistent in terms of goals scored than any player other than Ovechkin in non-pandemic seasons. He’s also still in the prime age of his career. We can argue about physical prime due to the shoulder, but he’s still got plenty of hockey left if he’s healthy.