Blues GM: 'Good likelihood' Tarasenko will start season with team

RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images / Denver Post / Getty

St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong is joining the list of those who expect discontented sniper Vladimir Tarasenko to be with the team when the puck first drops in October.

"There's a good likelihood that he'll be there," Armstrong said, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Jim Thomas. "Vladi and I have talked about that. He understands."

Armstong said he recognizes Tarasenko's desire to be traded, but the NHL's current pandemic-altered landscape didn't give St. Louis an appropriate opportunity to give the longtime Blues winger what he wanted.

"It’s a difficult industry right now. It's a flat cap. Vladi hasn’t played a lot of hockey in the last couple years. He knows he’s gonna have to go out there and play very well," Armstrong said.

Shoulder injuries have mired Tarasenko's career in recent years - he's only appeared in 34 regular-season games over the past two campaigns, and he put up 14 points in 24 contests in 2020-21. The 29-year-old was reportedly unhappy with the way St. Louis handled two of his three shoulder surgeries, and the saga made him lose trust with the club.

Fortunately for both the Blues and the Russian forward, the doctor who performed Tarasenko's most recent surgery said his shoulder should be 100% for this season.

"I guess my (hope) is that he’ll be playing so good that he won’t want to be traded," Armstrong said. "And we won’t want to trade him.

"We just have to have a good season. He has to have a good season. He wants to play for a number of years, and to do that, he's gotta make himself marketable. And to do that, we have to be a good team for him, too."

St. Louis head coach Craig Berube echoed that point earlier this month, saying he expects Tarasenko to play some "good hockey" with the Blues.

Tarasenko, who the Blues drafted 16th overall in 2010, has 442 points in 531 games and has scored over 30 goals in a campaign five times in his career.

Training camp begins in late September.

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Blues GM: 'Good likelihood' Tarasenko will start season with team
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