I go away to Pittsburgh for the weekend and all hell breaks loose. Tarasenko is going to sign a huge multi-year deal. Bob McKenzie said so!
Not so fast.
I have to admit I was pretty surprised he would say that. McKenzie seems like a pretty reasonable guy. He's certainly not one of the guys with his face jammed into a camera shouting "PHIL KESSEL IS THE ANTI-CHRIST!" Anyway...
McKenzie was on Edmonton's TSN 1260 Monday and talked about several things including Vladimir Tarasenko. Here's a link to the audio. The Tarasenko talk starts at about the 7:10 mark. The transcript for McKenzie is from Nichols on Hockey.. I couldn't find the TSN transcript link so I transcribed the host (apparently Wil Fraser) myself. Here's the entire exchange:
Host: Over the weekend, Vladimir Tarasenko scored his 32nd goal of the season. He's now 4th in the NHL in Plus/Minus at plus 29. He has 64 points in 65 games. He has been the human highlight reel for a long part of the season. He's coming off of his entry-level deal this off-season. How much trouble- discomfort is he putting the St. Louis Blues in when it comes time to resign him in that this is a guy who has gone from a two-and-a-half million resigning to a three-and-a-half to now all bets are off as far as this this guy could get a restricted free agent offer?
McKenzie:"Yeah, well – if they’re going to sign him he’s going to want a multi-year deal in the six, seven, eight years, whatever, at north of $6 million a year. There’s no question. Between 6 and 7.
"And you know what? I think the Blues are fine with that, as long as the consistency of production is there. As long as they’re convinced what they’re seeing isn’t a one-off. That this isn’t just a lucky season where his shooting percentage is high and he got some breaks.
"I think they’ve seen enough this season to believe Tarasenko is the real deal. That this guy is a legitimate, front-line scoring winger in the National Hockey League and that he’s always going to put up big numbers and big points. And you don’t mind paying for that. The same as any team with a young player coming out of entry level. We’ve seen it before, whether it’s John Tavares on the Island. Whether it was Taylor Hall in Edmonton.
"And you do have to be careful because I’m sure the Carolina Hurricanes regret the contract they gave Jeff Skinner coming out of entry level. And I’m sure that the Oil, if they had a do-over with Eberle and some of other guys, they might have used some bridge deals to their benefit.
"But I think in this case, you’re not left with a whole lot of choice if you’re the St. Louis Blues. So you look at the player and you say, ‘You know what? We’re happy to pay him if he’s the real deal.’
"And I think most people think Tarasenko is."
What it is
Speculation. Not presented as anything else. "If...." "He's going to want...." "I think...." "I think...."
What it is not
News (or at least not the kind of news that various outlets are claiming) .
The Score, which DK linked today, had the headline:
Report: Tarasenko to command north of $6M per year in new deal with Blues .
Oh, and this, half-way down the article
As previously reported, the two sides aren't expected to discuss a new deal until the offseason.