The past few days have been hectic for the Philadelphia Flyers. After acquiring defenseman Ryan Ellis from the Nashville Predators in exchange for defender Philippe Myers and forward Nolan Patrick over the weekend, it seems management is still not done.
Every offseason, the Flyers are linked to some big-name player in the hopes he will be signed or traded for. Sometimes the rumors end up being true and other times they do not.
As it was first reported by Anthony SanFilippo at Crossing Broad, the team might be interested in acquiring St. Louis Blues sniper Vladimir Tarasenko. Tarasenko has spent his entire nine-year career with the Blues, where he has been an elite scorer with 218 goals and 442 points in 531 games. An acquisition of this kind would change the Flyers’ top line, but is it a good move?
Tarasenko Unprotected in Expansion Draft
After he was left unprotected by the Blues ahead of the expansion draft, Tarasenko will likely be selected by the Seattle Kraken. But that may not be his last stop.
It could be that Seattle will select Tarasenko with their pick from the Blues, then trade him to the Flyers for another player and a pick after the draft is concluded. The Flyers left Jakub Voracek, James van Riemsdyk, Justin Braun, Shayne Gostisbehere, and Robert Hagg unprotected, so this trade will likely depend on who Seattle selects from the team. Swapping Voracek and Tarasenko makes the most sense as both players are of similar value to their team.
Tarasenko to Philadelphia: The Positive
Tarasenko is a game-changing player that any team would love to have on their top line. He would be a huge addition to the Flyers’ top line and top power-play unit. He is a shoot-first player who loves to score goals, something Philadelphia has been missing for some time.
Tarasenko recorded five straight seasons with 30-plus goals from 2014 to 2019, making him one of the most lethal scorers in the league. On the Blues, he’s been playing with former Flyer Brayden Schenn, so the connection to a Philadelphia style might be there. Schenn spent much of his career on the power play with Flyers captain Claude Giroux.
Adding Tarasenko to the top line would let Giroux become a past-first player again and take the pressure of being a goal-scorer off his chest. He could return to the Giroux of 2017-18 when he put up 102 points to finish second in the league behind Connor McDavid.
Tarasenko has already agreed to waive his no-trade clause, and the Flyers are one of the teams on his list. It’s a match made in heaven, so a deal could go down in the coming days.
Tarasenko to Philadelphia: The Negative
We know the upside of trading for Tarasenko, but there is cause for concern regarding his health. In the last three seasons, he has undergone three separate shoulder surgeries that required him to miss a significant time before the 2020-21 campaign. The question is not whether Tarasenko can score goals, he has already proved that, but can he stay healthy?
“It’s a concern in the sense that he’s had three surgeries or is going to have three surgeries,” Blue’s general manager Doug Armstrong told USA Today after the third surgery. “We’re hoping that he gets back to the level that he was at before. I’m not concerned about the work ethic and the approach he’s going to take to put himself in a great spot. But time is going to tell on how quickly and the impact he can have when he gets back.”
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The problem is that Tarasenko never got back to that player he was. This past season was a bit of a disappointment, as he put up 14 points in 24 games.
Does Tarasenko to Philadelphia Make Sense?
Trading for Tarasenko is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that can not be passed up. While there are concerns about his injury history, the gamble to get a natural goal-scorer is worth it, because the Flyers desperately need one.
It’s time for the Flyers to move in the right direction, starting with big moves this offseason. For Tarasenko, Philadelphia could be a new opportunity to regain his scoring touch and spark his career. Flyers fans would love to see a talented goal-scorer on their roster. While nothing is set in stone, the Expansion Draft is just a day away, so expect things to get wild quickly.
Bobby Bader is a freelance journalist from Philadelphia, PA covering the Philadelphia Flyers for The Hockey Writers since the start of the 2020-21 National Hockey League Season. He currently works with the Hershey Cubs Hockey Club (USPHL) as the team’s media coordinator as the team prepares for its inaugural season. For interview requests or to provide content info, follow Bobby on Twitter or his social media accounts. They appear under his photo on articles like this one.