While many fans have assumed Vladimir Tarasenko would be traded, simply because he asked, it seemed less and less likely with each passing day and week. It has been a fine line between seeing if any team will push the demand or if the Blues would blink.
To the midway point of September, the Blues had not shied away from their holding position. They were determined to get what they felt was fair value for their disgruntled scorer or they would hold on to him.
However, signing Bozak – even at a modest fee – really puts the Blues up against the salary cap. It will be hard to keep everyone and still fit under the cap.
It is not impossible to fit everyone, including Tarasenko, under the salary cap, but we will go into that in a moment. For now, the trade aspect seems back on the main burner.
Armstrong has normally chosen to keep around a $1 million buffer between the salary paid and the cap ceiling. This is not a steadfast number and the Blues have been right against the cap plenty of times, but Armstrong has stated he likes to keep that wiggle room if possible.
When the Blues announced the re-signing of Bozak, CapFriendly dropped their available cap space to just over $780,000. Though the Blues hold all the power, it would seem unlikely that’s a fair salary to give Robert Thomas.
With the team already trying to trade Tarasenko and one more roster spot being taken up, this signing seems to signal the Blues could be closer to a Vlady trade than not. There have been no reports of anything serious, but then again, there was no whispers of the Blues trading Joel Edmundson for Justin Faulk until the deal was done.
Tarasenko may have been on the way out regardless. Re-signing Bozak may mean it’s all but certain now, if only for the team to free up cap space.