St. Louis Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko is one of the NHL’s top players. He is a human highlight reel each and every time he touches the puck and is due a very large pay day. The 23-year-old is a pending restricted free agent come July 1, but just go ahead and Google “Shea Weber Flyers” to find the exact opposite situation the Blues want to find themselves.
The Blues and general manager Doug Armstrong have voiced their knowledge on the situation in a very confident manner as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on June 18:
“(Tarasenko) knows he’s going to be here, we know he’s going to be here,” Armstrong told the Post-Dispatch. “When it happens, it happens.”
In May, Armstrong said he preferred to have Tarasenko in the fold before July 1, but when asked recently, he said: “No, it doesn’t matter to me. We’d like to get it done as soon as both sides are comfortable.”
When it happens, it happens? That is one confident statement Armstrong is making about the Russian forward that could receive offer sheets from any other teams in the NHL come July 1.
Now of course there is absolutely nothing wrong with the statements Armstrong made, after all he is the man that talks to these skaters and agents, but the closer the first of the month creeps up, the more teams pay a touch more interest in the situation. Teams with a massive amount of cap space can send a whopping offer his way.
The Blues have $14.506 million worth of money to deal with this summer and they’ll need to make decisions on three very important restricted free agents: Jake Allen, Robert Bortuzzo and Tarasenko. They’ll also have to choose which of their six unrestricted free agents they want to keep around or say goodbye to.
The Blues have voiced that they won’t be bringing back at least four of those UFA’s which will free up that precious space to give Tarasenko pretty much any amount he wants for the moment, but they will have to of course being paying enough players to reach a 23-man roster. Barret Jackman, Zbynek Michalek, Marcel Goc and Olli Jokinen are among those players not being brought back to the team.
The #Blues will not offer Barrett Jackman a contract and he will become a UFA, he has spent his whole career in STL pic.twitter.com/gil2Ol1kTd
— SiriusXM NHL Network (@SiriusXMNHL) June 11, 2015
Last season, St. Louis played the year with just under $1.5 million worth of cap-space while phenom Tarasenko was being paid $900,000. He finished top-10 in league scoring with 37 goals and 36 assists and was without question the Blues’ top forward.
Along with his small pay check, the man who emerged as the go to puck stopper for the Blues, Allen, was making just $850,000 and the 23-year-old will be seeing a larger sum being placed in his bank account as well.
While there are not any definite reports out there saying the amount of money he may be looking for, he could and should become the highest paid Blues forward. The hockey world would be shocked if Tarasenko isn’t wearing a Blues sweater for years to come, but as we all know it’s never smart to count out the crazy.