McKenzie on Armstrong’s potential trade mindset

So just how available might Vladimir Tarasenko be in a trade?

Bob McKenzie had a Friday morning radio hit on Montreal’s TSN 690.

Following a discussion on the “incredible amount of trade talk going on” across the league leading toward the holiday trade freeze, McKenzie was asked to follow up on his mention of Tarasenko.

“Tarasenko, I would have thought of him as one of the untouchable players in the NHL. What do you think is behind any even consideration of moving that guy.”

“Well, he’s not scoring,” pointed out McKenzie. “Not like he can, anyway, and that’s been an issue.

“It’s funny. At times he’s been obviously a tremendous goal scorer, but the team success hasn’t been there, so - He’s just listening. He’s not saying, ‘I’m trading Tarasenko.’ And that would be a really difficult deal to do.

“And I think too, it’s important - when we hear the word that Doug Armstrong is ‘listening’ and there are virtually no untouchables - although I really think Jaden Schwartz is probably the closest thing to that on the Blues - but if he’s listening on just about everybody, it doesn’t mean he’s trading everybody. He’s already been through as a general manager - he kind of got rid of one core group of players that included David Backes and T.J. Oshie and some others as he turned it over to be a younger group led by Tarasenko and Schwartz.

“And they had a great year last year. When I say ‘great,’ they had a reasonably good last year. And he made that conscious decision at the trade deadline, even though the team was right there in terms of competing for a playoff spot, to trade Paul Stastny. Because he thought, ‘This core group is still relatively young and I’m going to be adding more youngsters to it. So Stastny is going to free agency. I don’t think we’re going to win the Cup with him this year, so let’s make a move.’

“So now here you are. And you’re right, there’s probably ownership saying, ‘Wait a second here. We’re not blowing up another core, are we.’ And I think Doug Armstrong’s answer, if I can speak for him, would probably be, ‘No, we’re not. But we’re going to find out what some of the value is of these guys and maybe there’s one deal we could make that will help to make us a better hockey team.’

“And I don’t think he’s in mortal jeopardy in terms of his job. That said, the expectations are high and when expectations are high so is disappointment if you’re not producing, and everybody is under the gun. Obviously Mike Yeo felt the wrath of it and lost his job.

“But Doug Armstrong is going to see what’s out there to be done.”

Tarasenko is in the fourth season of an eight-year, $60 million contract, which includes a no-trade clause for the final four years of that deal that’ll kick in July 1.

Contract-related info via CapFriendly