This is a particularly shocking report from Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman, primarily because of the contract situation between the two involved parties.
During a radio interview on Tuesday, Friedman revealed his belief that there are real problems between one of the National Hockey League's top stars, Vladimir Tarasenko, and his team the St. Louis Blues. The same Tarasenko and St. Louis Blues who just recently hashed out a $7.5 million per year deal that runs through the 2022-2023 season.
"The Tarasenko thing is amazing to me," said Friedman as per Nichols on Hockey. Here’s a guy who they signed to a huge extension. He’s an $8 million dollar a year player. And very quietly all year, there have been rumblings that they haven’t been satisfied with him. And this playoffs has been proof of that. His ice time was a huge conversation in the Chicago series. It was like Stamkos last year for Tampa. There were nights he was their sixth or seventh most-used forward."
“Last night, for me, that was the kind of game (where) it was up and down, it was entertaining hockey. That’s the kind of game Tarasenko should flourish in, and you didn’t notice him. It took 56 minutes for him to get a shot on goal. He doesn’t have a single point in this series."
By far the most shocking part of Friedman's interview was when he revealed his belief that the situation is so bad that the two sides could be headed for an eventual split. While Friedman openly admitted he hadn't heard anything to suggest this, he believes the Blues will have to factor it into their decision making process this summer.
“I wonder, when this year is over and St. Louis has to make some choices; I mean, I have no knowledge that this is – this is purely me thinking out loud here – but I’ve got to wonder if there’s going to be any conversation about is he part of their future. I mean, I can’t imagine he wouldn’t. But they’ve gone to the third round now and he has not been a major factor for a lot of it. He was against Chicago. Every time he touched the puck in that series you wondered if he could score."
“But the subplot here is… and like I said, there have been rumors they haven’t been happy with him, and now I look at this and I’m like, ‘Wow.’