If there’s something that Doug Armstrong is good at, it’s moving players on the NHL deadline day to bring back a surprising return. That’s how the Blues wound up with Brayden Schenn and the draft pick that wound up being Klim Kostin, after all.
If there’s something Frank Seravalli is good at, it’s keeping track of the latest discussion and gossip amongst the front offices, especially this time of year.
As luck would have it for Blues fans, those two worlds are colliding in the form of trade rumors involving Vladimir Tarasenko and Torey Krug.
No doubt, the #stlblues are a team to watch over next few days. Vladimir Tarasenko has no plans to rescind his trade request, he’d still like to move on.— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) July 6, 2022
And as reported this morning, Torey Krug is a name the Blues have gauged interest in.https://t.co/vJARpgnRFa
Unlike Jake DeBrusk, Tarasenko’s trade request has never been rescinded. After the Blues questioned Tarasenko’s commitment and character – even though their own doctor botched two shoulder surgeries – and left him exposed in the Expansion Draft, Tarasenko responded with the best season of his career. He was a force, led the team in scoring, yet was still only sixth among Blues forwards in ice time. Now, Tarasenko is one year away from free agency, and the benefit for the Blues is they can certainly get more for him this time around as a proven difference maker. He could be the game breaker the Hurricanes desire.
The bit of this about Tarasenko not rescinding his trade request comes as a bit of a surprise, considering how much the “bygones are bygones” line has been pushed by Doug Armstrong. After Tarasenko’s best season in years, it’s also up in the air if Armstrong would entertain a trade. Yes, trading Tarasenko now is trading him when his value is highest and it would, even with a decent return, clear up some cap space that could help re-sign Ryan O’Reilly. Armstrong needs to weigh if Tarasenko for his final year of his contract is a better move than trying to get a couple lesser players or packaging a draft pick to get a bigger name. If an extension is doable, Tarasenko will more than likely stay put.
As to Krug, Seravalli has this to say:
Blues GM Doug Armstrong has quietly explored the potential of moving Krug, whom he brought in two seasons ago on a $45 million deal. Most importantly: Krug has a full “no-trade” clause and can block a deal to any team, and to this point, it sounds as if he has not been approached about the possibility. However, Armstrong is juggling a lot of balls in the air at the moment (see: Vladimir Tarasenko at No. 5). The Blues are wondering how they can create some cap flexibility. Would Krug have significant value at is cost certainty? Robert Thomas needs an expensive new deal, Jordan Kyrou will be up in a year, and the Blues might want to target other key players as they tinker with their group.
Krug’s contract at $6.5 million AAV would clear space, but it’s also fairly reasonable for now. Krug also has a final say about a trade, which makes this tough. The biggest question here is if Armstrong finds Krug redundant with Scott Perunovich coming up, but when you compare a proven quantity to someone who missed a bulk of his first NHL season due to injury, Armstrong may just err on the side of who he knows. Factoring in that the Blues’ need a defensive upgrade and Nick Leddy may be overpriced, Army may just settle with Krug for now.