NHL: Vladimir Tarasenko moves from Blues to Rangers
BETTING À DAY
The St. Louis Blues handed forward Vladimir Tarasenko to the New York Rangers on Thursday, while bringing Quebecer Samuel Blais back to their fold.
The Blueshirts also acquired guard Niko Mikkola, while conditional first- and fourth-round picks in 2023 and 2024 respectively, as well as defenseman Hunter Skinner were shipped to the Blues.
Tarasenko admitted to the media during the recent National Hockey League All-Star Weekend that he expected to leave the Blues. Eligible for the free agent market next summer, the 31-year-old veteran completes an eight-year, $60 million contract. Also, he has had trouble this season, with the Missouri team trailing nine points on a playoff spot. Bothered by injuries in recent years, he tallied 10 goals and 19 assists for 29 points in 38 games.
The Russian was temporarily sidelined due to a right-hand problem arose when he blocked a shot by Matthew Dumba of the Minnesota Wild on Dec. 31. Previously, shoulder operations limited him to 34 meetings in total during the 2019-20 and 2020-2021 campaigns.
“I did my homework for this transaction, and had a quick chat with Artemi [Panarin, another Russian],” Rangers general manager Chris Drury said on Twitter. We are happy to have him in our group and I think he will adapt well.
The forward has reached the 30-goal mark five times in his career. Tarasenko threaded the needle 34 times in 75 games last season.
Blais is back
For his part, Blais has registered five assists in 40 outings this year. He wore the Blues uniform from 2017-2018 and was traded to Rangers in July 2021 in a pact involving Pavel Buchnevich.
The Montmagny native was a sixth-round pick (176th overall ) of St. Louis in the 2014 draft. He had 35 points in 119 games at Missouri.
Mikkola had three assists in 50 games at St. Louis in 2022-23, while Skinner shared his time between the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL and the Jacksonville Icemen of the ECHL.
“It's something we've been trying to wrap up for a while,” Drury said. . It gives the two new players a little more time to acclimate to the group, so I'm excited to have done that now and to be able to have them in the lineup tomorrow.”
Rangers will face the Seattle Kraken on Friday. Tarasenko and Mikkola could face their former team for the first time on April 6.