Blues’ Krug and Tarasenko Listed as Trade Targets

On July 6, 2022, Frank Seravalli of DailyFaceoff updated his trade targets board that included a surprising inclusion of St. Louis Blues defenseman Torey Krug and forward Vladimir Tarasenko. On his list that includes a mixture of 35 players, prospects, and trade assets, such as the Anaheim Ducks’ cap space at No. 19, Tarasenko and Krug are listed at number five and 13, respectively.

Why Vladimir Tarasenko is Listed

After excluding him from the list until now, the 30-year-old Tarasenko was not thought to be a potential trade candidate this season. Now in the final year of his eight-year, $60 million contract, the star forward has undergone two shoulder surgeries only 11 months apart from one another and still has concerns regarding his long-term health. Nearly one year to the date of publicly requesting a trade from St. Louis, his name has surfaced once more.

Vladimir Tarasenko St. Louis Blues
Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

Seravalli states in his article that the reason for including Tarasenko on his list now is: “Unlike Jake DeBrusk, Tarasenko’s trade request has never been rescinded.”

Related: Blues Defense Needs Creative Solutions

To the credit of Seravalli, that may be true. However, after the season ended, Blues general manager Doug Armstrong was asked about a trade request still looming over the front office’s head and stated:

“Those are things we handle behind closed doors. But I would say he seems relatively happy right now and we all seem happy.” 

While it could benefit the Blues to listen and take trade offers on their leading point scorer, it seems that it would need to be quite the haul for the team to pull the trigger on a trade. This past season, he came to St. Louis and had one of the most productive seasons of his career scoring 34 goals and 82 points over 75 games. He followed his regular season performance with six goals and nine points over 12 postseason games.

Why Would the Blues Trade Torey Krug?

Like many of the teams in the NHL, the Blues are feeling the restraints of the salary cap. Included in Seravalli’s article is Torey Krug as the No. 13 trade target candidate. According to the columnist, Krug has been quietly shopped by Armstrong after only bringing him into the organization two seasons ago on a seven-year, $45 million contract after the departure of defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. He was brought in with the expectation of playing on the team’s top defensive pairing alongside Colton Parayko. However, the signing has not worked out as planned as Krug has been a mainstay this season on the second-pairing unit with Justin Faulk.

With the emergence of prospect defenseman Scott Perunovich, he has made a player like Krug expendable, potentially sooner rather than later. While the 31-year-old veteran was injured during the postseason, Perunovich made his return to the lineup where he took over responsibilities on the team’s first power-play unit and looked capable of filling the spot long term.

The Blues are still in their Stanley Cup contention window, but for how long will depend on roster management. The team currently has just over $9 million in cap space this coming season with key players like David Perron and Perunovich to re-sign. Beyond the 2022-23 season, they have only three forwards under contract, with players like Robert Thomas, Jordan Kyrou, and Ryan O’Reilly all needing new agreements to be made, all of who are looking at pay raises.

If the front office agreed to trades that would send Krug and Tarasenko out, the team has the chance of acquiring prospects, draft picks, and NHL-ready talent in return that would allow them to restock their prospect pool and increase their time to compete for a second Stanley Cup. On the flip side, the team is in its prime to contend for the Cup once more, and losing out on two key assets of their team’s roster is a risky move. The front office will need to weigh each move carefully as they anticipate a deep playoff run once more during the 2022-23 season.

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