Vladimir Tarasenko's trade request earlier this summer made the 29-year-old right winger a hot topic in the off-season rumor mill. While he's still with the St. Louis Blues a quarter of the way into this season, his future with the club is still to be determined.
Tarasenko's return to form thus far (16 points in 19 games) prompted a reader to ask The Athletic's Jeremy Rutherford if the sniper still wanted a trade. While there were rumors that he might be having a change of heart, Rutherford indicated a source said he's standing by his request.
The Blues, meanwhile, aren't in any hurry to move Tarasenko. While sources told Rutherford the winger's performance has increased interest in him from other clubs, it might not be enough to convince general manager Doug Armstrong to trade him at the March deadline or even next summer.
To his credit, Tarasenko has handled this well. He hasn't let his situation affect his play or his relationship with his teammates.
Armstrong can afford to be patient. While the Blues have struggled of late (3-6-1), they're still in the thick of the Western Conference playoff chase. Unless a rival GM makes a pitch too good to refuse, there's no reason to move Tarasenko.
That could change if the Blues should slide out of a postseason position as the trade deadline approaches. Nevertheless, Armstrong could prefer to wait until next summer to gauge the market when teams have more salary-cap space and a willingness to make big deals.
Interested clubs could also prefer waiting because of Tarasenko's contract. Cap Friendly shows him carrying a $7.5-million annual salary-cap hit through next season but he's earning $9.5 million in actual dollars this season and $5.5 million in 2022-23.