The Stanley Cup has yet to even be awarded, and the offseason has already been kicked into high gear.
St. Louis Blues superstar, Vladimir Taraseknko has reportedly requested a trade, according to The Athletic's Jeremy Rutherford. Naturally, this news sent shockwaves through the NHL community on Wednesday night. Taraseknko is the second-longest tenured member on the Blues roster behind only Jaden Schwartz, having been drafted 16th overall by the organization in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
Now, over 10 years and one Stanley Cup later, a franchise cornerstone wants out. Why?
Well, as Rutherford reports, Tarasenko's desire to leave the only NHL city he's called home stems from a lack of trust between player and team. Tarasenko has undergone three separate shoulder surgeries over the past 28 months -- two of which, Rutherford says, were performed by Blues team doctors. The third surgery, however, was overseen by doctors that did not happen to be employed by the team, and reportedly uncovered some lingering ligament damage that had not been detected during the prior procedures.
Obviously, that would be concerning to anyone, let alone a professional athlete who relies on their body to be the source of their livelihood. Couple that with Taraskenko's reported frustration over the lack of urgency displayed by the Blues' medical staff to perform further testing on his injured shoulder in the 2020 Playoff Bubble, which ultimately caused Taraskeno to leave early, and all reports indicate that this relationship is damaged beyond repair.
So, where does he end up? That remains unclear.
Tarasenko reportedly wants to go to a contender. Most players do, really. Who wouldn't? But the post-pandemic flat-cap and Tarasenko's $7.5 million cap hit, which includes $9 million in actual salary for 2021, may price him out of most teams' plans. And that's before acknowledging that this is a 30-year-old coming off three shoulder surgeries in a little over two years who has not played over 24 games in a season since 2018-19.
Tarasenko is an undoubtedly talented hockey player when healthy. It's just that he hasn't been healthy in quite some time.
Either way, an already-spicy offseason just got hotter.