The talk of a fire sale coming to St. Louis is feeling more and more real as the Blues continue to struggle and find themselves in the biggest disappointment of the franchise's history it seems. NHL insider Pierre LeBrun revealed today that he believes Blues GM Doug Armstrong will be pressured to make a blockbuster move shortly.
"Doug Armstrong - he’s not going to sit on his hands and just accept where things are, explained LeBrun on the air of Vancouver's TSN 1040 on Tuesday. "So where that goes, I mean I think it’s still early in the process. Lots of time to play out here between now and the 25th of February.
“But I think the Blues are an absolute wildcard in terms of having a GM who’s unafraid to make change if he’s pissed off. So yeah, that’s a team that is worth monitoring.”
This prompted Matt Larkin of The Hockey News to reveal five teams that could decide to go all-in to acquire the services of star forward Vladimir Tarasenko. While several clubs that were mentioned will be worth keeping an eye on, the Edmonton Oilers just catch most of the attention here. Larkin makes valid points on why Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli should pull the trigger on a major trade that would bring the Russian sniper to Edmonton.
"Tarasenko and McDavid as linemates? They’d likely help each other produce career-best work. Speaking of which Tarasenko’s best seasons came with Ken Hitchcock as his coach, regardless of whether they clashed from time to time. And look who’s behind the bench in Edmonton?
The Oilers would be more challenged than the other teams on this list to prepare a suitable package for Tarasenko, as their farm system lacks depth. It wouldn’t be worth including elite blueline prospect Evan Bouchard, but perhaps something built around Kailer Yamamoto, Jesse Puljujarvi or both would be a fair starting point. The Oilers have to start maximizing McDavid’s peak years, and Tarasenko would make a great trigger man through 2022-23."
Larkin also list the Carolina Hurricanes, Boston Bruins, Vegas Golden Knights and Buffalo Sabres as teams who should make a move to land Tarasenko. However, we all know how fed up Chiarelli has been in Edmonton and how a blockbuster trade might be the only thing saving his job and his team at this point. A team that should be making headlines for its success and clinching a playoff berth every spring...
Tarasenko’s no-trade clause kicks in next year for the final four seasons of his contract, so the Blues need to act now if they want to make a move. The Oilers could therefore move in with an offer Armstrong simply cannot refuse.
Tough times in St. Louis. Let's see if the Blues pull the trigger on that deadline teardown in the coming weeks and if the addition of Tarasenko could be the ultimate solution in Edmonton...