The annual NHL All-Star weekend has wrapped up its entertaining slate of events including the 3 on 3 tournament pitting the divisions in each conference against each other with the Atlantic Division winning the overall tournament. For many NHL teams, this weekend provided a breather of sorts from the grind of the regular season and a chance for players to heal a bit from nagging injuries.
For the St. Louis Blues, this week off provides a setting where the team can re-evaluate what’s gone right and what has horribly gone wrong this season. The Blues made the Stanley Cup playoffs last season and seem listless this year with a sub-par 23-25-3 record for 49 points. If the season did end today, the Blues are nine points out of the Western Conference wild card race and trailing behind both Calgary (24-17-10) and Nashville (24-19-6) as these three teams chase the reigning Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche for the elusive last wild card spot.
The St. Louis Blues have been to say the least “streaky” this season and started out as one of the hottest teams in the NHL only to fall to an early eight- game losing streak followed by another six-game winning run. The rest of this season has been more of a Jekyll and Hyde production and fans never know which version of the Blues are going to show up each night. Yes, contact extensions this past summer for both Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou have paid dividends as this attacking duo has provided much of the Blues’ offensive firepower this season but for team leaders such as Ryan O’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko, the 2022-23 campaign seems to be a continuous misfire night after night.
Have we seen the last of Vladimir Tarasenko in a Blues’ sweater?
Blues fan favorite Vladimir Tarasenko represented his team well during the All-Star weekend and competed in the accuracy shooting competition on Friday night and added four points in the semi-final game on Saturday afternoon versus the Pacific Division. However, time seems to be against Tarasenko staying in St. Louis past the March 3rd trade deadline and even Tarasenko doesn’t know what’s going to happen in the very near future: “Even Vladdy don’t know the future of Vladdy.”
When the Blues hit the ice again on February 11th against the Arizona Coyotes, will this stretch of games be the last in a Blues’ sweater for Vladimir Tarasenko? Tarasenko has played all of his 11 seasons in St. Louis and wrapping up the final year of an eight-year contract extension. Tarasenko’s time in St. Louis has produced multiple All-Star appearances ( four total including this season) and culminated in the Blues winning their first Stanley Cup in 2019. However, time catches up with every player no matter how much of an emotional attachment they may have to a particular organization and the Blues relationship with Vladdy may be at a mutual end. Furthermore, Tarasenko has been plagued with a hand injury that benched him for three weeks just before the All-Star break.
Time and injuries have reduced Tarasenko to his lowest point total (10 goals, 19 assists) since 2014 and he’s been the subject of trade rumors even before the season began. The question that still begs to be answered is whether or not Vladimir Tarasenko is in his final playing days with the St. Louis Blues? Even Vladdy doesn’t seem to know the answer to that question but hopefully Blues’ fans will know soon – really soon.