It’s fitting that it was Star Wars night that prompted this article from Jeremy Rutherford: “Blues may have to give Tarasenko more help.”
Help him, Army-Wan. You’re his only hope.
Tarasenko is at a five game goalless streak right now. Rutherford details the shuffling that’s gone on recently in hopes to jump start the Blues’ best goal scorer:
Three games ago, the Blues altered their forward combinations, placing Nail Yakupov on a line with Vladimir Tarasenko and Jori Lehtera.
Ken Hitchcock liked their play in the last two games of the road trip and kept them together for Tuesday's game against Ottawa. But in a 6-4 loss to the Senators, Hitchcock wound up moving Dmitrij Jaskin into Yakupov's spot, which led to a goal from Kevin Shattenkirk late in the second period.
In the three games in which Tarasenko has started with Yakupov, Yakupov has directed a total of two shots at the net and only one has registered as an official attempt. He directed none at the net Tuesday against Ottawa. Eventually, the Blues moved Robby Fabbri onto Tarasenko's line, which is what they may have to return to for Thursday's game against Washington.
Fabbri is about as close as Tarasenko is going to get right now to a linemate who may increase his odds for a goal. Rutherford doesn’t mention the possibility of a trade bringing in a top center. We all know that the trade bait would be Kevin Shattenkirk and more than likely a prospect. We also all know that the kind of center that Tarasenko truly needs would add to the cap headache that the Blues seem to find themselves in.
So yeah, Matt Duchene would be great. But he’s not going to happen.
If only there were another center who had a history with the Colorado Avalanche, someone getting paid top line money who already fits into the Blues’ current cap situation.
Maybe a player who has twice as many points as Ken Hitchcock’s preferred center for Tarasenko, a player with a 16.7 shooting percentage (as opposed to a 11.9% one). Someone who, instead of 42 shots on net has 66. That’s potentially 24 more rebound opportunities for Tarasenko (it doesn’t work like that in real life, but let’s pretend).