The St. Louis Blues pulled the trigger on a coaching change, but what if Doug Armstrong opted to make an ever bigger splash with his roster?
Elliotte Friedman had a Wednesday afternoon TV hit on NHL Network, and as part of the segment delved into Craig Berube’s role behind the bench with the Blues and what might be next for the the general manager.
“It’ll be interesting to see if there’s any way he can get a stronghold on the job,” noted Friedman of Berube. “Doug Armstrong said they are going to undergo a search - and a big search - to look and see who potentially who their next coach is.
“The thing that I think is in Craig Berube’s favor is if you take a look at some of their young players - Vince Dunn, who they really had real hope for this year; Samuel Blais, who looks like he could be a bit of a late-round steal; and even Ivan Barbashev - those were guys who played very well under Berube when he was their coach in the American Hockey League in Chicago. So I think the Blues sit there and say, ‘Hopefully we can catch the same lightning in a bottle up here that we did down there.’
“But Doug Armstrong yesterday, he talked about ‘the core.’ And the core, maybe their time together is expiring. And I thought the writers there, the reporters, did a great job of pointing out how he said that before; but we’ve already seen a kind of tip of the iceberg trade in the one he made last summer, going to get Ryan O’Reilly.
“Now one of the guys I do wonder about there is Tarasenko. There have been rumors before that the Blues have not always been happy with him since he signed the big contract. I’ve never had anyone say that to me on the record. I’ve never had anybody give me a trade rumor that’s got his name in it. But it’s kind of been out there, guys.
“And if the Blues really want to make change, that’s a change they could make - although it’s very hard to win that trade because we all know how talented he is.”
Tarasenko signed his eight-year, $60 million contract in July of 2015, and this is the fourth season of that pact.
The sniper’s no-trade clause will kick in for the 2019-20 contract year, so if the Blues ever were to have a desire to trade him they would have more freedom with which to do so between now and July 1.
Tarasenko’s cap hit is $7.5 million.
Contract-related info via CapFriendly