Trade for Tarasenko: a failure in 2021, a home run in 2022?
The 2022 MLB Home Run Derby was on Monday, and it got me in the baseball mood. The New York Islanders’ offseason so far has been similar to what we’ve seen from New York Yankees outfielder Joey Gallo: swings and misses.
Trading is the name of the Lou Lamoriello game, and I want to revisit a story from the summer of 2021, in which the New York Islanders, the Seattle Kraken and the rest of the NHL missed a glorious opportunity to acquire St. Star forward of the Louis Blues Vladimir Tarasenko.
In 2020-21, Tarasenko has only played 24 games due to a second shoulder injury and third shoulder surgery. His first game of the 2020-21 season – and first since October 2019 – came in March, two months into the season.
Despite his return, Tarasenko’s health remained a major question mark. Tarasenko had lost faith in the Blues as he believed they had let him down in handling his operation. This led to him requesting a trade and submitting a list of 10 teams he would be willing to go to.
Once Tarasenko asked for a trade, it looked like the elite forward would play elsewhere in 2021-22. In fact, the injury was so concerning that St. Louis general manager Doug Armstrong left Tarasenko unprotected for the Seattle Kraken expansion draft. But the Kraken wouldn’t take it.
Tarasenko’s value had never been so low. The health question mark made him a high-risk, high-reward option that every team passed on. Plus, Armstrong clearly didn’t like Tarasenko’s comeback or he would have pulled the trigger.
The New York Islanders were one of the teams on Tarasenko’s list, according to The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford.
New York and the Blues were both in the midst of quiet offseasons, as many thought something was cooking, but the stove was out. And then the 2021-22 season started, and Tarasenko bounced back.
In 75 games, Tarasenko scored 34 goals and 48 assists for the first 82-point campaign of his NHL career. He led St. Louis in scoring but ranked sixth in average ice time per game (16:55). In 12 playoff games, Tarasenko has scored six goals and three assists.
Tarasenko never officially rescinded his trade request and now his value is higher than ever. But is Armstrong interested in moving the elite winger?
With the departure of David Perron and his 27 goals in Detroit Red Wings, Armstrong may not be so keen on moving Tarasenko. It might make more sense for him to wait until the 2022-23 trade deadline, like if Tarasenko had another year of dynamite, value would be at its peak and a playoff team, or a prospect team. in the playoffs, would give anything to the Blues. They want.
It is the same situation for the Vancouver Canucks and JT Miller.
Tarasenko, 30, has one year left on his contract which carries a cap of $7.5 million. If an extension is a possibility with the Blues, it would remove Tarasenko’s name from the rumor mill. But again, he still has his trade request.
While there’s no report on whether Tarasenko has updated his trade list, if the Islanders are still on it, would a trade to Long Island now be worth it?
The Blues, like the Colorado avalanche in their quest to bring Nazem Kadri back, have their own ceiling issues; By CapFriendly, the Blues have just $625,000 in cap space as of July 19. Robert Thomas, Jordan Kyrou and Ryan O’Reilly will need extensions, and getting free of Tarasenko’s $7.5 million would go a long way. Plus, Armstrong may be looking for picks, and with the depth of the 2023 NHL Draft, draft capital is in short supply.
New York will likely have six picks in the 2023 NHL Draft, while the Arizona Coyotes will receive the team’s third-round pick if Andrew Ladd only appears in one game in 2022-23.
Could the fact that Tkachuk wants to go home inspire Armstrong to move Tarasenko for the youngest goalscorer?
Earlier this offseason, the Minnesota Wild sent Kevin Fiala to the Los Angeles Kings for a first-round pick and a second-round prospect. Tarasenko is likely to order more, but not much more, as the Islanders are set to part ways with their first overall pick in 2023, with Aatu Räty (top prospect).
As with Fiala, Tarasenko’s trade should come with an extension in place.
Would that be enough to bring the Russian to Long Island? Would the islanders even be willing to move Räty?
The biggest problem with New York is the ceiling situation, as the team would need one player to leave to bring in another.
Like a broken record here at NYI Hockey Now, Josh Bailey’s $5 million cap remains a problem, but one that could be solved with a few pooled picks for teams like the Coyotes, Kraken and even the Chicago Blackhawks, all of the teams that have cap space.
The New York Islanders haven’t caused a stir, but in free agency they’re going all-in on Johnny Gaudreau, and Lamoriello’s plan has always been to improve through trades. Their attack needs this perirenal goalscorer now than ever with Mathew Barzal entering the final year of his contract.
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