With Monday morning’s news that superstar forward Vladimir Tarasenko will miss the remainder of the 2019-20 regular season (at least five months) thanks to required shoulder surgery, there is speculation the Blues are immediately examining what comes next. According to an official report from the St. Louis Blues official website Tarasenko will be placed on long-term injury reserve and from there, the Blues have to decide what course of action to take as life proceeds without the sniper.
Without Tarasenko in the lineup, what does that mean for the St. Louis Blues? The answer… they are likely to go shopping.
The Blues Now Have Money
Given that Tarasenko was making $7.5 million per season and that money can be moved to LTIR, the Blues could, seemingly, go out and spend said money on another forward (or forwards) to try and replace the production Tarasenko was, and would have provided. It’s logical to assume they’ll do so.
The Blues were a team this summer that didn’t rest on their laurels. In other words, the defending Stanley Cup Champions weren’t about to get complacent just because the won the biggest prize in hockey months earlier. They went out and traded for Justin Faulk and immediately signed him to a long-term extension. The idea being, the Blues wanted to be contenders again.
Early Season Struggles
So far, this season hasn’t exactly gone the way the Blues were hoping it might. 6-3-3 on the season, they’ve not been bad, they just don’t seem to be shoe-ins for the playoffs and definitely don’t look like they’ll be competing for the trophy again when the smoke clears. Losing Tarasenko doesn’t help.
And, what if St. Louis struggles early? Does a number of consecutive losses change the way the Blues view the rest of the season? Without their star forward, one has to imagine the Blues don’t want to be faced with that decision.
Should they add, and it work, the Blues will have to make moves toward the deadline since Tarasenko’s injury return might be timed perfectly a Blues playoff run. That means, the Blues may have to add someone they can later remove or with some contract flexibility.
On the flip side, there is a chance the Blues could struggle and if they do, they might become sellers. This could include moving Alex Pietrangelo.