St. Louis Blues: Please Stop The Vladimir Tarasenko Trade Talk

The St. Louis Blues didn’t make many waves in the free agency portion of the 2022 offseason. The additions from outside were minor and most fans were upset about the departure of some names that they assumed would be staying.

Doug Armstrong has proven he is not opposed to making trades late in the offseason though. Nobody saw the acquisition of Justin Faulk coming and that did not happen until late September.

Under that thinking, there is still plenty of time for the Blues to make a trade before the 2022-23 season starts. I merely ask one, simple thing – stop thinking it is Vladimir Tarasenko that will get traded.

I freely admit that anything is possible and nobody on the Blues is untouchable, outside of Jordan Binnington. That’s only because there is not a significant upgrade available out there.

Even knowing that nobody is untouchable, the logic, or lack thereof, behind trading Tarasenko at this point is astounding. The reliance on something that never truly existed is baffling as well.

The logic of those that keep saying Tarasenko should go is that he is injury prone and the Blues want the cap space. Both are not correct.

If St. Louis was so desperate for cap space, they would have dealt Tarasenko very early in the offseason. He was coming off another 30-plus goal season and had a solid run in the playoffs.

The iron was hot at that point. If you trade him prior to free agency, you create cap flexibility and allow yourself more than enough money to re-sign David Perron.

The Blues did not do that. From most reports we’ve all seen, St. Louis barely made an offer to Perron because they valued the defense of Nick Leddy more and knew they didn’t have enough money to make a fair deal with Perron.

Armstrong knew this because he had no intention of trading Tarasenko. Just as he had no intention of making a deal last summer when his hands were supposedly tied, he was not going to get fair value for a player that can, and usually does, lead your team in goals.

This constant insinuation that Tarasenko is injury prone is nonsense as well. He barely missed any time at all prior to his shoulder issues.

From the 2014-15 season through the 2018-19 season, Tarasenko missed a grand total of 15 games. That’s an average of three games missed per season.

Once he was finally healthy in 2021-22, he only missed seven games. He’s out there for 90% of the season or more, more often than not.

This idea that the shoulder stuff was something of his own making, or he had a bum joint is silly. Doctors make mistakes. They’re human.

I don’t care if you have the best doctor in the world. They’re not infallible.

It does not matter where the doctors work either. I saw several online posts when the first surgery failed, defending the honor of Wash U Hospital. I’ve seen glowing reviews of their work and I’ve heard horror stories.

Surgery is not an exact science. Not every body reacts the same way to the same procedure done by the same doctor.

For all we know, Tarasenko was just the result of odds catching up after many successful surgeries by the same medical team. The only reason this got blown up as big as it did was because of the profile and status of the patient involved.

Last, but certainly not least, is this overreliance on the trade request. Frankly, I’m sick of hearing about it.

Every article, whether by Joe Schmoe’s blog or by national media, seems to keep hammering away at the fact that Tarasenko demanded to be traded. Even worse, they continue to bring his name up in potential deals because he has not rescinded that request.

Why does he have to? Whether he did or not, why does the public have to know?

First off, we have never actually heard or seen a direct quote from Tarasenko demanding this trade. Everything came from his agent in 2021.

The idea that the agent not might act out of their own interest is foolish. I have little doubt that Tarasenko was upset at the handling of the surgery and that it did not work the first time around, but there is no proof that he told his agent he wanted out of St. Louis.

If Tarasenko truly wanted out, he would have held out. He would have forced the team’s hand, made them trade him for whatever meager compensation they could muster and gone about his business.

Tarasenko did not do that. He was the consummate professional.

If anything, Tarasenko was a better teammate in 2021-22 than we had seen in a long time. He was enjoying playing hockey, enjoying being with his teammates and enjoying being a member of the Blues. The friction between him and Brayden Schenn is documented and even those two were often laughing and joking around in pregame warmups.

Why does the fact that no reporter knows that Tarasenko doesn’t want to be traded automatically mean he still does? Armstrong is well known for keeping things in house. Just about any rumor you hear regarding the Blues came from either the player or another team trying to drum up interest/drama. Armstrong, and his office, just don’t leak things.

So, who is to say that Tarasenko did not say he was fine staying and it’s just being kept between the player and GM? Frankly, I’m tired of seeing the phrase, “he has not rescinded the trade request.” We don’t know that.

Honestly, I hope he stays the entire 2022-23 season and then signs an extension. Personally, I’m at the point where production would be secondary. Shoving it back in the face of all the people that were so sure he was out the door would be satisfaction enough.

Through all the goaltender arguments and discussions about fourth-line players being so invaluable, this issue has managed to go to a different level. One of the more consistent producers of goals is still seen as an enemy by some.

We act as though his career is on the downturn. Other than two injury-plagued seasons, he has been one of the most consistent goal scorers the Blues have had in this century.

He’s only 30 as well. Tarasenko will turn 31 early in the 2022-23 season, but he’s far from old.

He hasn’t been around terribly long either. If you take away the abbreviated rookie season, or roll that into the injury lost seasons, he’s entering his tenth full season with the Blues.

Why are we so quick to show him the door for something that’s never been directly quoted? I’m not even discounting the idea that he did ask his agent to seek a trade.

Why is that the end of the world? The Blues would not have their current captain, Ryan O’Reilly, if he did not force his way out of Buffalo, but it’s ok for him and not Tarasenko? The only difference is the Blues were smart enough to hang on to the player and not get fleeced the way the Sabres did.

Tarasenko is not going anywhere in the 2022 offseason. Unless the Blues fall apart in 2022-23, he’s not getting traded during the season either.

The Blues need his scoring. The way salaries are going, $7.5 million is a steal for a 30-goal scorer. You don’t send that away just because.

I know my pleas will fall on deaf ears. The rumors will never stop.

Nevertheless, I’m asking for them to stop. There is little basis for the rumors other than content at this point.