Blues Trade Vladimir Tarasenko To The Rangers

by | Feb 9, 2023 | News, NHL, Rumors | 34 comments

The St. Louis Blues traded winger Vladimir Tarasenko and defenseman Niko Mikkola to the New York Rangers in exchange for winger Sammy Blais, minor-league defenseman Hunter Skinner, a conditional first-round pick in 2023 and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2024.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Blues retained 50 percent of Tarasenko’s $7.5 million cap hit ($3.75 million). The Blues will receive the latter of the Rangers’ 2023 first-round pick and the 2023 first-rounder they acquired from the Dallas Stars. If the Rangers make the playoffs in 2023, the fourth-rounder in 2024 becomes a third-round pick.

St, Louis Blues trade winger Vladimir Tarasenko to the New York Rangers (NHL Images)

We shouldn’t be surprised that the Blues traded Tarasenko rather than re-sign the pending unrestricted free agent. The 30-year-old winger first surfaced in the rumor mill in July 2021 after it was revealed he requested a trade over his unhappiness with the medical treatment that he received from the Blues medical staff for a nagging shoulder injury.

The Blues couldn’t find any suitable trade offers and retained Tarasenko, who played well for them in 2021-22 with a career-best 82-point performance. However, it was rumored last summer that he hadn’t rescinded his trade request. His production is down from last season’s pace (29 points in 38 games) but that’s in part attributable to missing 13 games to illness and an injured hand.

The Rangers were among the recent rumored destinations for Tarasenko. They were lacking an established first-line right wing. A six-time 30-goal scorer, he should mesh well alongside Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin on the Rangers’ top line. He could also be a good fit on the second line with Chris Kreider and Vincent Trocheck.

Mikkola, 26, is also due to become a UFA this summer. The 26-year-old is a third-pairing defenseman on a one-year, $1.9 million contract. He’ll provide the Rangers with some experienced depth down the stretch and in the playoffs, especially if injuries should strike their blueline.

Blais is returning to the Blues after being shipped to the Rangers in exchange for Buchenich in 2021. He suffered a serious knee injury last season that limited him to just 14 games and saw limited action in 40 games this season with the Blueshirts.

Skinner is a 21-year-old defenseman who was a fourth-round pick of the Rangers in 2019. Since 2020-21, he’s spent time with their AHL affiliate in Hartford and the ECHL with the Utah Grizzlies and Jacksonville Icemen.

The Tarasenko trade could be viewed as a roster teardown by the Blues but I consider it more of a retool.

They still have a decent core with Robert Thomas, Jordan Kyrou, Pavel Buchnevich, Colton Parayko, Justin Faulk, Brayden Schenn and Torey Krug. They could re-sign Ryan O’Reilly if he’s willing to accept a pay cut and a shorter-term contract. Meanwhile, the conditional picks from the Rangers can be put toward restocking their prospect pipeline.


  1. Better than taking on Kane

    • Yup!

    • Yes sir

    • I was going to say he same thing!

  2. no kane no boeser
    this is good

    • You mean the Boeser who racked up 4 points last night in that come-back win by Vancouver?

  3. just trying to figure out what this does for the trade market. Rangers are probably done, or it is a $ for $ trade. So Kane to Rangers is dead – is there any other team interested at that price? Islanders have a lot of TDL cap room, but they really are lacking tradable assets to entice another team. But never count Lou out. Blues have thrown in the towel, so are they in fire sale mode (O’Reilly and Barbashev), looking at you Avs? Vancouver still has assets to sell, not to mention SJ. It could finally be that crazy TDL we have been waiting for. The “Bedard” effect…

    • Isles have an extra center in Pageau. He could be traded to a team in need of a center and get back a sniper. He has a 16 team no-trade list. Would San Jose be on his trade list…Timo time? Detroit- Bert+ Kubalik? St Louis-Buchnevich, Chicago- Kane

      • I gotta ask…in what trade scenario/package do you see Pageau bringing back Meier?

      • Meier might be a bridge too far for the Isles as they already spent a lot on Horvat, oops! 😬

      • Johnny Z, we have all been there, just wanted to see if I was missing something (like usual).

  4. Blues should sell what they can they have a new core Kane will decide where he will go if he wants to. If only 1 team return will be similar to Hall to bruins trade

    • Never did, George. It may have been that the latch on the bonnet of their car was defective or already broken before they reached the bridge.

  5. Can’t help but think the Rangers got a really good deal here.

    • Taz

      6 time 30 goal scorer. Career high 82 points, Stanley Cup winner and the Rangers gave up a conditional 1st and spare change…and got 50% retained and a depth defenceman as part of the deal…

      Do any of the Habs fans still think Anderson is worth a 1st and two prospects 🤣

      • Daryl,

        Tarasenko is 31, UFA and the Blues have been trying to part ways since 2021 without success.

        Anderson is 28, locked in for 4 more years and the Habs are very happy with each other and not looking for a trade.

        The difference between the two players situations are profound and not comparable.

        It isn’t a question of what Anderson is “worth” but what the offer too good refuse that would entice the Habs to trade.

      • Locked in or “4-year albatross?” All depends on the level of one’s fanaticism I suppose.

    • if he and Panarin can create at even strength together…. will be a great deal

  6. I bet this will be another year where all the blockbusters get done during February and then TSN and Sportsnet will have nothing to talk about all day March 3.

    • I have that feeling too. Tarasenko might be the tip of a February iceberg when it comes to player movement.

    • It makes sense for teams that have no shot at the playoffs to unload those players sooner than later. Why risk that a tradable asset gets injured the day before the trade deadline? Then, you just pay that player to sit on injured reserve and miss out on first round picks and prospects; that can be a huge setback for a team needing a rebuild.

      Conversely, for teams looking to add, if you are going to pay that heavy price for a rental why not get a few extra games out of them? This gives them more time to gel with their new team and have more impact on the regular season standings.

      The only real drawback for the acquiring team is that less of the cap hit has been paid, but not by much.

      • Very true DoubleMinor … and I would add to that the realization of those non-playoff hopefuls that, the earlier they can unload those players they have already decided had to be moved, the better since, by waiting until the last minute (TD Day), the various positional needs of the receiving teams may have already been fulfilled by earlier trades. Sort of a variation of the “the early bird ….”

  7. I think NY is done. I think they’ll experiment with the 4th line leading up to the deadline and maybe add a piece there, but that’s about it.

    So, NY went out and got “big” “ gritty” After the Tom Wilson rag dolling of Panarin and Buchnevich.

    They added Reaves, Blais, Nemeth, Hunt who are now all gone. Experiment over I guess?

    Fun fact: Blais played 54 games and scored zero goals in NY.

    • All that Wilson incident did was cost two good hockey men their jobs and make the Rangers organization look foolish and overreactive.

      • Yeah, I don’t miss either. Gorton, as I’ve maintained all along including his time in NY is grossly overrated.

        He did more harm than good .

  8. I get increasing more amazed as this season goes on at the people, and news outlets, that remain convinced that the Avs are a top 5 contender, let alone a top 3.
    Currently 16th in the league, with a 580sv%, and clearly not the same team they were last year, but somehow they are favoured over 13 of the 15 teams in front of them.
    I think it shows how a lot of people’s opinions are extremely slow to change as things evolve.

  9. habfan30

    Look at things from a different perspective.

    Yes, Tarasenko is a UFA. Anderson has 4 more years at $5.5M Is that a house or bad thing? As George O mentioned Anderson is way overpaid for what he brings to the table. I know you dislike the Leafs but they have Engvall making $2.25M producing at almost the same rate as Anderson and most people think the Leafs couldn’t give him away.

    Tarasenko is also a 6 time 30 goal scorer. Anderson has never scored 30 goals and his playoff point totals are awful too. St. Louis didn’t trade Tarasenko last year because they were a playoff team. This year they are not. Tarasenko will not re-sign in St. Louis so trading him now is a no-brainer.

    I know you like to support your team but try to be realistic in your assessments.
    What do you expect Hughes to say? They may not be shopping him but if any GM offers a 1st pick for him Hughes should take it and run. The cap savings alone would help Montreal immensely.

    • Daryl,
      I don’t dislike the Leafs, I dislike the “national” media fawning over them and I dislike the neverending cheap shots made at them that fail to recognize that they are one of the better teams in the league.

      I haven’t claimed that Anderson is worth the farm, I’ve said the Habs need an offer they can’t refuse to trade him.

      Montreal is a tough hockey city and we are quick to criticise and run players and coaches out of town, including legends. The list of great players who didn’t finish their careers in Montreal is long.

      Anderson isn’t a player that folks are looking to move for now and he fills a leadership role on a very young team in an overhaul.

      • RE: Leafs and national coverage… this is exactly how I feel. The Canadian media and the Leafdom all operate under the belief that every Canadian thinks of Toronto as “canada’s team” and it gets increasingly agitating every year.

        An average Saturday night SportsCentre will have 3x the coverage of a Leafs loss than that of any other Canadian team’s win.

        On any given night during the week when I watch TSN or Sportsnet, they will highlight the Leafs game and it’s more often than not followed by “now to the hardcourt…” and I have to endure 10 minutes of basketball before they come to the Sens.

      • Just to add, Anderson and Al are both nuclear deterrents. (The kid likes the nickname “Al” wifi is stupid imo.

      • Re: Leafs coverage.

        I’m a Leafs fan in south-eastern Ontario, about an hour from Toronto.
        It’s interesting to hear complaints about too much Leafs coverage because over the last ten years the media has really made an effort to NOT cover the Leafs so much. That sucks for us Leafs fans because it seems to me the pendulum has swung the other way, but I admit that may just be unconscious bias on my part. There are Leafs-haters across the continent, including in Toronto, but they still have the largest fanbase so it makes sense to cater to them in Toronto media, at least, for the ratings.

        They need to go back to separate coverage for different districts rather than saving money on airing the same coverage for the entire East.

        Sportsnet should develop a different channel for each market, which I think they’ve already done for Edmonton and Calgary, not sure of the other markets, and remove the blackout restrictions. This restriction doesn’t make much sense, if I’m correct, and Sportsnet still owns the rights Canada-wide. Who’s rating are you protecting with blackouts?

        I left and came back to this reply several times while at work so I apologize if it isn’t well communicated.

  10. As a Blues fan…..good trade for the Rangers. Tarasenko has looked pretty disinterested this season, but we saw last season that he can still be elite. He is friends with Panarin, so that alone should excite him. Tarasenko had a full no trade clause, and I’m pretty sure the Rangers were one of the ver few teams he would agree to go to, so the price the Rangers paid was very reasonable. Decent trade for the Blues as well. He was definitely leaving as a UFA, and we aren’t making the playoffs. Now we have two 1st rounders and I’m hoping for another if we move O’Reilly. Time to rebuild, but hopefully it can be a quick one.

  11. A very underwhelming return for Armstrong