Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele and St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko were both the subjects of media trade chatter this season. However, recent comments by their respective general managers suggest neither forward will be going anywhere this summer.
Tarasenko made headlines last summer when he reportedly requested a trade. During the Blues season wrap-up press conference on Tuesday, general manager Doug Armstrong seemed to put to rest any lingering worries about the winger's return. “I'm not concerned about Vladi for next year at all,” he said, praising Tarasenko's bounce-back performance this season.
The Athletic's Jeremy Rutherford suggested the possibility that this situation could change. Nevertheless, he considers it a good bet that Tarasenko returns next season with the Blues.
Scheifele, meanwhile, sparked raised eyebrows last month with his end-of-season remarks about the club's direction and his future. On Wednesday, Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said he expected the 29-year-old center to return next season. He indicated Scheifele's exit interview went well, chalking up his previous comments as an emotional response to missing the post-season.
Both players' contracts were another reason why they came up in trade conjecture. Cap Friendly indicates Tarasenko carries a $7.5 million cap hit for 2022-23 and can become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Scheifele is signed through 2023-24 with an annual average value of $6.125 million.
The Blues have just over $9 million in cap space for next season with 18 players under contract with David Perron and Ville Husso to re-sign. The Jets have over $18 million with Pierre-Luc Dubois due for a significant raise.
Both clubs will have to consider other cost-cutting if Tarasenko and Scheifele are off the market.