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Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman told it like it is : the St. Louis Blues are likely to trade out both Vladimir Tarasenko and Ryan O’Reilly.
“Do I think Tarasenko is going to get traded? Yes, I think he will. Do I think O’Reilly is going to get traded? Yes, I’m coming more around to that, absolutely.”
The two forwards have garnered a lot of interest when it was first brought up that they could be moved closer to the trade deadline, and now with the Blues set to be sellers ahead of March 3rd, it seems obvious that both Tarasenko and O’Reilly will become coveted pieces on the market.
On Tuesday night’s Insider Trading on TSN, Darren Dreger concurred with his broadcast rival, stating that despite his foot injury, O’Reilly has fell back in trade speculations and is expected to play elsewhere after the trade deadline.
Many teams looking for a huge boost up front will certainly call GM Doug Armstrong to inquire on both Tarasenko and O’Reilly. Earlier this season, Dreger’s colleague Pierre LeBrun had mentioned how the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Colorado Avalanche could get in the mix for the Blues’ captain. The insider had reported that the Maple Leafs’ front office had internally discussed O’Reilly, but also wondered about a possible reunion of O’Reilly and the Avalanche. The 31-year-old forward kicked off his career with the Avs in 2009-10, spending six seasons there before he was traded to the Buffalo Sabres back in 2015. O’Reilly could welcome a return to Colorado, but he lacks the no-trade protection so he could end up anywhere.
O’Reilly is currently playing the final season of a seven-year contract with an average annual value of $7.5 million. However, he is earning $6 million in actual salary, but $5 million of that was already paid out as a signing bonus at the start of the season. He’s eligible for unrestricted free-agent status on July 1.
As for Tarasenko, also out with an injury, he’s been rumoured to want out of St. Louis for the last few seasons. When he was asked about it at the start of 2022-23, the Russian forward had gotten angry, wanting to focus on the campaign and nothing else. The Blues are the only team he has ever played for in his NHL career.
His wish - whether he wants to talk about it or not - could come true now that we are nearing the deadline as Tarasenko could be acquired as a rental player with the Blues out of the postseason chase.
When it comes to trade rumours, we know we can trust Friedman, and if he feels that Tarasenko and O’Reilly will be moved, now we only have to wonder where.