Winds of change may be blowing in St. Louis, and the culprit is not poor play. It is the salary cap. Things are about to change for the Blues. Sudden superstar Vladimir Tarasenko is currently making $900,000 this year, and will be a free agent at the end of this season. Based on his play this year he will probably be seeking a huge pay raise next season. According to Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Tarasenko will be seeking a deal worth $5 to $6 million dollars a year.
To make things a little trickier, goaltender Jake Allen will also be up for a new deal next season. If the Blues plan to have Allen as the goalie of the future, they must sign him and commit to him being the number one goalie. Allen’s new contract will add to the salary crunch.
This is where the trade rumors come into play. It is reported by TSN Bob McKenzie, that T.J. Oshie and Patrik Berglund could be on the move. Boston has expressed interest in Berglund, and has recently been seen scouting St. Louis games. Patrik Berglund currently has a salary cap hit of $3.7 million, and T.J. Oshie has a $4.175 million dollar contract. Removing one or better yet both of these cap hits should create the relief they will need.
With $56 million committed to fifteen players for next year it is very likely the Blues will have to move a few players to free up the space to sign Allen and Tarasenko. It is very realistic that Oshie and Berglund will be moved, and both players will likely draw a decent return. The Blues would most likely want young prospects in return. This will not hurt the salary cap, and will bolster the young talent pool.
It would make more sense to move one of these two forwards than any of the defense core. It has been proven over time that defense wins, and I strongly believe that Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong would be very hesitant to give up any of his defensive assets. On a side note according to Gordon, Armstong is denying that he is actively talking trades with any team.
So what NHL teams are seeking the services of Oshie? The Fourth Period Magazine is reporting that the Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers, and Ottawa Senators all are interested, or has expressed interest in Oshie. He is a strong, speedy forward that would be a great depth forward for any of these teams. As for Berglund, the Edmonton Oilers, Arizona Coyotes, and of-course the Boston Bruins have all expressed interest. Edmonton makes sense in some ways. They have the prospects to give up, but it is no secret that the Oilers need defense, and this will not help them with their current needs.
It will be interesting to see how this one will all work out. I do think that this is probably more truth than fiction, and that a deal for at least one of these two players is likely to happen. I do know that the Blues will not ever let Tarasenko go. He will be resigned. He is a legitimate superstar and the future of the Blues.
* Photo by Getty Images
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