The dialog started with Vladimir Tarasenko speaking about his fourth look in an NHL All-Star Game.
“It’s an honor for me to represent the Blues here and have a chance to see some friends from around the league,” he stated, talking from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., close to the place the sport is being held this weekend. “It means a lot. I’m going to enjoy the next couple of days and go back to work after.”
But with Tarasenko, you may’t go lengthy earlier than the subject turns to the longer term. What will occur after the following couple of days? Who will he be working for? The Blues? Or a Stanley Cup contender keen to commerce for the pending unrestricted free agent?
The 31-year-old has been silent on this topic since requesting a trade from the Blues in 2021, however when it was broached by The Athletic on Thursday and Tarasenko was informed there could be a number of questions, he surprisingly replied, “Go ahead.”
So, as Tarasenko basked within the Florida solar, away we went.
Has he considered this probably being the final time he represents the Blues on the massive stage?
“Yes. Obviously, yes, because even Vladi doesn’t know the future of Vladi,” Tarasenko stated. “There is only one guy who knows more than me, and his name is Doug Armstrong. I think that’s the guy who you should talk about my future with the Blues (with).”
That could be a reference to Blues common supervisor Doug Armstrong, who’s at present unavailable to reply whereas on a scouting journey in Europe. He, after all, must determine whether or not Tarasenko will end the ultimate season of his eight-year, $60 million in St. Louis or if he’ll be dealt by the March 3 deadline.
Tarasenko does have a full no-trade clause, so in the end he’ll additionally determine whether or not he leaves or not. But he can’t approve a commerce if there’s not one offered.
Those 4 targets do not stand an opportunity 🎯 #NHLAllStar #stlblues https://t.co/FN9W5SGcZh
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) February 2, 2023
There’s been some uncertainty up to now 18 months as as to if Tarasenko nonetheless desires the Blues to honor his commerce request, or whether or not it has been rescinded, and when given the chance to clear that up Thursday, he politely declined.
“With all respect, no response on this one,” Tarasenko stated. “I’m not going to say anything.”
According to Tarasenko, he and Armstrong haven’t spoken just lately. Presumably, meaning his agent, Paul Theofanous, and the GM are additionally not speaking.
“No, not lately,” Tarasenko stated.
At this level, it looks as if a foregone conclusion that Tarasenko might be traded by the deadline or depart by way of free company within the offseason, but when Armstrong got here to him with a contract extension, would he have an interest?
“I pass all these questions for you to talk to (Armstrong) … because he knows more, obviously,” Tarasenko stated.
There’s nonetheless a month left earlier than the deadline, so there’s loads of time for this to play out, however as Tarasenko talked, it was apparent he hoped for some readability. Does he hope to have a dialog with Armstrong quickly?
“We’ll see,” he stated. “I can’t control it.”
Tarasenko added that every one that he can management is how he performs. He didn’t supply any excuses, both, for the best way his lack of manufacturing since returning sooner than anticipated from a hand harm. In 4 video games again, he has 13 pictures on purpose, together with a number of high-danger possibilities, however no factors.
“I need to deliver, and if I have chances, they don’t make me satisfied,” Tarasenko stated. “Obviously, it was a lot of chances, but I didn’t score any. I take the blame for the results because of it. I don’t want to blame it on timing or something. You just have to believe and keep working.
“I believe in myself and the team. I truly believe we can make the playoffs. This comes from my heart and not just the words to look cool. I’m excited to be able to come back, to come back to the Blues, to my teammates, the team where I played for many years, and make a push for the playoffs. This is my goal.”
But within the meantime, Tarasenko’s future hangs within the steadiness, and he’s attempting to not let or not it’s a distraction.
“I’ve been thinking about it a lot — not going to lie,” he stated. “I’ve never been in this situation in my life because I’ve always been either signed or drafted or whatever. I don’t want to lie, saying like, ‘No, no, I don’t think about this at all.’ That’s not true.
“Obviously I’m looking forward to what’s going to happen. Sometimes it’s hard to clear your mind to just play hockey, so you think about it a lot. But like I said, you can control what you can control, and that’s what I’m planning to do for the rest of the season.”
(Photo of Vladimir Tarasenko: Michael Russo / The Athletic)