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NHL Rumors: Vladimir Tarasenko Not Protected by Blues in Kraken Expansion Draft

Adam WellsJuly 18, 2021

Tom Pennington/Getty Images

With Vladimir Tarasenko reportedly looking to leave the St. Louis Blues, the three-time All-Star could end up as a member of the Seattle Kraken. 

Per Frank Seravelli of DailyFaceoff.com, the Blues did not protect Tarasenko from the expansion draft that will take place July 21.  

Frank Seravalli @frank_seravalli

Word is at least four teams were interested in Tarasenko at full cap hit. Others involved with retained transactions. <br><br>Not sure why a deal didn’t get done, but the relationship is irretrievably broken. We’ll see if <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SeaKraken?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SeaKraken</a> take him - or where this goes next. <a href="https://t.co/kNw3oYyc7z">https://t.co/kNw3oYyc7z</a>

Tarasenko's future with the Blues has been one of the most-discussed topics of the NHL offseason. 

The Athletic's Jeremy Rutherford reported earlier this month that Tarasenko formally requested a trade because of his unhappiness with how the team handled two separate shoulder surgeries he had in 2018 and 2019. 

In a follow-up report this week, Rutherford noted that Tarasenko gave the Blues a list of 10 teams he wants to play for. 

That group includes the New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Vegas Golden Knights, Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals and Florida Panthers. 

Rutherford added Tarasenko trade talks are "complicated" right now because interested teams will want to see his medical records and because of his contract situation. 

The 29-year-old is owed $15 million with cap hits of $7.5 million in each of the next two seasons. 

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According to Rutherford, the Lightning appear to be Tarasenko's preferred landing spot. Cap Friendly estimates the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions are $3.66 million over the cap right now. 

Leaving Tarasenko open to the expansion draft could solve St. Louis' problem of finding a landing spot for him, though the Blues wouldn't receive any compensation in return.

The Kraken would then have to determine if they want to keep Tarasenko—assuming he would even want to play for an expansion franchise—or try to flip him and acquire more assets that would benefit them long-term. 

Tarasenko has to prove he can still be a valuable contributor in the NHL. The former first-round pick has only appeared in 34 games over the past two seasons combined. He has scored 24 points and is minus-9 during that span.     

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