It's been almost two months since Vladimir Taransenko reportedly requested a trade from the St. Louis Blues earlier in the off-season. Despite weeks of speculation, however, the 29-year-old winger is no closer to changing teams.
The Blues need the cap flexibility from shedding Taranseko's $7.5-million annual average salary. Cap Friendly shows them with just over $1.5 million in cap space and restricted free agent Robert Thomas still to sign.
Tarasenko's status sparked questions from Blues fans that The Athletic's Jeremy Rutherford recently attempted to address. While admitting it's 50-50 that the winger returns with the Blues this season, Rutherford still believes he'll be traded. He felt the relationship between the two sides can't be repaired given Taransenko's unhappiness over the club's handling of the first two of his three shoulder surgeries.
The New York Rangers and New York Islanders could be in the mix. Rutherford acknowledged it's difficult to tell with the Isles. There's talk they've already signed unrestricted free agents such as Zach Parise and Kyle Palmieri but general manager Lou Lamoriello hasn't officially announced them because he doesn't want his rivals to know how much cap space he actually has.
Rutherford also suggested the Carolina Hurricanes as a destination but he made that speculation before they signed Montreal Canadiens center Jesperi Kotkaniemi to an offer sheet. The Hurricanes could shift their focus toward Tarasenko if the Canadiens match that offer but they appear more interested in acquiring a center than a winger.
Asked about bundling Tarasenko to the Buffalo Sabres for Jack Eichel, Rutherford didn't rule out the possibility. However, Tarasenko is two years away from UFA status and the Sabres could prefer a return that better suits their long-term plans.