As of writing this article, we are already over halfway through the month of September. That means the NHL season and the St. Louis Blues season is almost upon us.
With everything being so near, the feeling has largely been that we are days, if not hours, away from hearing Vladimir Tarasenko being traded away. To this point, it has not happened.
The pundits say the Blues are asking for too much and ignored the market and should have taken whatever was offered. That may be true in one sense, but maybe Doug Armstrong has the right mindset.
Fans and media like to see things as they are right now, which appears like an untenable situation. The locker room issues would be too much and it was just smarter to avoid it at all costs.
However, what if that’s not true? It makes for great sports talk radio to say you’re putting your foot down and Armstrong has to clear out the dead weight and the like, but what if it’s not actually that bad?
We’ve heard mild and anonymous whispers about members of the Blues not liking Tarasenko’s demeanor, but that’s gone on for years. The first year Brayden Schenn joined the team, he flat out said he did not feel comfortable with Tarasenko because he floated too much. Nevertheless, they got past their differences and were both key players in winning the franchise it’s first ever Stanley Cup.
Why is it so hard to believe the team could get past this current situation? After all, despite social media sentiment, Tarasenko has never actually said anything bad about his teammates or even the front office directly. He has fractured his relationship with the medical staff, but the only issue with the guys in the locker room is whatever icy feelings existed prior.
Regardless, as time has gone on, the possibility that Tarasenko would not be traded has grown. Armstrong has said that was always an option right from the start, but nobody would believe it. It always reverted to the “oh…well, you just have to trade him” comments.
Perhaps it is time we actually believe Armstrong. While he’s not being 100% definitive, leaving the door open if a team has something interesting to offer, he’s basically saying Tarasenko is staying for now and maybe for the season.
“There’s a good likelihood that he’ll be there (on opening night),” Armstrong told the Post-Dispatch. “Vladi and I have talked about that. He understands. I understand his desire (to be traded).”
Some might say Armstrong is just being coy and trying to push the market, but that really is not the case. He admitted that he has not even worked the phones because he knew whoever was interested would call since this became so public.
“The one positive that came out with his trade request is that everyone knew,” Armstrong said in Jim Thomas’ article. “So I don’t need to call people. If they have interest, they’ll call me.”
Armstrong also pointed out something that I’ve been saying for months, but nobody wants to hear. Trade requests are not uncommon.
The only uncommon thing about this was how quickly it got out and that may have more to do with Tarasenko’s agent than the player himself.
"“I think this happens a lot in the NHL. It’s just not as public as this one has been.” – Armstrong, referring to the trade request"
Everyone is excited about Pavel Buchnevich, and they should be, but they ignore that he made a trade demand a couple years ago. Dan Quinn spoke to 101 ESPN and revealed that Buchnevich demanded a trade and was hurt about how the team was using him, much like Tarasenko. It was not made as public, Quinn told Buchnevich he would not be dealt and he rebounded with a good season.
We don’t know what kind of season Tarasenko will have or even if he will make it through a full year without another injury. However, we need to change our mentality on the trade.
Instead of thinking it’s a sure thing, we need to believe Armstrong. Perhaps he still works out a deal if Tarasenko gets off to a good start, or maybe he stays the entire year.
Whatever the case may be, it’s time to take Armstrong at face value. I no longer believe this trade is happening and won’t until it does.