St. Louis Blues Pros And Cons Of Trading Vladimir Tarasenko

St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko (91)Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko (91)Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /
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St. Louis Blues
St. Louis Blues center Klim Kostin (37)Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

Pros: Chance for prospects

One of the other potential benefits of sending Tarasenko away is forcing the coaching staff to elevate prospects, or at least evaluate them harder. With no fall back of a star scorer returning from injury on the horizon, you’d almost be forced to put some of these young players in prominent rolls and top-nine spots.

Jordan Kyrou, Klim Kostin and Robert Thomas all come to mind. Each of them need to take some big steps in 2021-22 to further their individual progress and the pressure cooker of needing to replace proven production might draw more out of them.

While I claim the evidence is circumstantial, it did seem as though Kyrou regressed when Tarasenko came back. The confident player from the start of the year became deferential and indecisive. Perhaps he could elevate himself to a 25 goal scorer, or more, if he didn’t feel the weight of his subconscious telling him to pass to the big gun.

While he is still young at 22, we’ve heard about Kostin for years now. The Blues have to figure out what he will be at the NHL level, if anything. If he’s only a third-line player, so be it, but we cannot keep putting it off until next year. Eventually, you can only learn or prove so much in the minors before you need to be given a real look.

In the absence of Tarasenko, Kostin would only be denied a top-nine spot if the Blues went crazy and brought in a bunch of wingers during the offseason. Kostin is not going to slide right into Tarasenko’s spot on the top line, but any gap in the top six causes shifting among the other lines and gaps that need filling.

Similarly, some might wonder why the absence of a winger would do anything for Thomas. The answer is, depending on who you bring in via trade or free agency, if you are thin on wing, you absolutely have to move Braden Schenn to the wing.

This would open up the number two center spot. Thomas has not earned a top-two center role yet, but he’s also too talented to be on the third line. Maybe giving him a full 82-games in the top six would force more out of him.

The argument can be made that losing depth on the wing might hurt Thomas, with nobody to pass to, but wingers are easier to find than centers. Similarly to Kostin, the Blues need to find out what Thomas is going to be. If he’s not a second line center, that frees him up to be trade bait or given more definitive roles that don’t focus as much on offense.

Next. Blame the pandemic, not the coaching staff. dark

Personally, I still maintain the cons outweigh the pros, but nobody in the Blues organization is asking me. The truth is the if Tarasenko is gone, the Blues have cap flexibility and some of their younger players might grab that brass ring.