St. Louis Blues' superstar winger Vladimir Tarasenko has requested a trade after losing trust in the organization, according to The Athletic's Jeremy Rutherford.
Issues with the team reportedly arose from two shoulder surgeries performed by team physicians that still left the 29-year-old Russian ailing. A third surgery in 2020 performed by a doctor not affiliated with the Blues discovered ligament damage from Tarasenko's initial injury in 2018 wasn't corrected in either of the previous two operations.
Rutherford noted Tarasenko notified the team of discomfort in his shoulder before rejoining the club in Edmonton during the playoffs only for the team to delay further testing. He would play just four games before returning to St. Louis for another evaluation.
The 2019 Stanley Cup champion has played just 110 games since the end of the 2017-18 season.
According to Rutherford, this mistrust hasn't gone unnoticed and general manager Doug Armstrong has been "quietly shopping" his star for "a while":
"There was a lot of criticism of Tarasenko’s performance last season—even within the organization—and sources say the lack of trust became a bigger issue at that point because the Blues weren’t taking ownership for the mishandling of the first two surgeries.
"Meanwhile, there was lingering disappointment from Tarasenko after the Blues named Ryan O’Reilly as the 23rd captain in team history the previous summer. That story, which originated in Russian media, died because Tarasenko was unavailable for comment to local media until he returned to the lineup three months later, when it became a moot topic."
After eight seasons in St. Louis, it was all enough to convince Tarasenko he needed to leave town. The three-time All-Star has two years remaining on an eight-year, $60 million contract and will carry a cap hit of $7.5 million in both 2021-22 and 2022-23 before becoming an unrestricted free agent.
Between his salary and a desire to play for a contender, Rutherford believes likely destinations for Tarasenko include the New York Islanders, New York Rangers and Edmonton Oilers.
There's no timeline for a potential deal, however the upcoming Seattle Kraken expansion draft, NHL entry draft and start of free agency could help move things along rather quickly.