New York finally has their top-line right winger.
The Rangers acquired star forward Vladimir Tarasenko in a trade with the Blues on Thursday.
The Russian sniper has been in trade rumors for the last couple of seasons. Tarasenko formally requested a trade from St. Louis in the summer of 2021, but ultimately remained with the team.
As a pending free agent this summer, he was one of the top trade deadline candidates for 2023. Tarasenko had a no-trade clause in his contract, however, he was willing to waive for the move to the Rangers.
With the deal, New York immediately boosts its offense, getting a proven scorer like Tarasenko that can play on the first line. The All-Star forward has 10 goals and 29 points in 38 games played this season.
MORE: When is the 2023 NHL trade deadline?
The Sporting News has you covered on the details of Tarasenko trade.
Vladimir Tarasenko trade details
- Rangers receive: F Vladimir Tarasenko, D Niko Mikkola
- Blues receive: F Sammy Blais, D Hunter Skinner 2023 1st-round pick, 2024 4th-round pick
In addition to Tarasenko, the Rangers acquired defenseman Niko Mikkola. Forward Sammy Blais, defenseman prospect Hunter Skinner, a 2023 first-round pick and 2024 fourth-round pick went back to the Blues.
Tarasenko immediately gives New York what it has been looking for since last summer — a top-line, shooting right winger that can be paired with star center Mika Zibanejad.
He has been a top-six winger for most of his career. When healthy, the forward is a 30-goal scorer. He has hit that threshold every season in which he has played at least 75 games.
The biggest concern with Tarasenko is injuries. He only played a total of 34 games in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons, and already missed time this year with a broken hand. If he can stay healthy and in the Rangers lineup, he could be the key for a team aiming to get back to the Eastern Conference Final.
In addition to Tarasenko, Mikkola gives the Rangers added depth on the back end. The 26-year-old Finn has skated in 50 games this season for St. Louis, recording three assists, 68 blocked shots and 96 hits. He will be a UFA at the end of the season.
Blais returns to the Blues after he was traded to the Rangers two years ago in the deal that sent Pavel Buchnevich to St. Louis. The 26-year-old has just five points in 40 games with New York this year, playing in a bottom-six role.
Hunter Skinner is a 21-year-old defenseman that has played most of this season in the ECHL. He was a fourth-round pick by the Rangers in 2019.
St. Louis also received draft capital, acquiring a 2023 first-round pick and a 2024 fourth-round pick. New York has two first-rounders in the 2023 draft after acquiring the Stars’ pick in the Nils Lundqvist trade. The Blues will receive whichever pick is later in the draft. Additionally, the fourth-rounder turns into a third-round pick if the Rangers make the playoffs this season.
Vladimir Tarasenko contract details
Tarasenko is in the final year of his eight-year, $60 million contract he signed with the Blues in 2015. He is set to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
As a part of the deal, the Blues are retaining 50% of Tarasenko’s cap hit.
New York has roughly $15 million in cap available next year, however, the team has a plethora of restricted free agents that they need to sign, which include K’Andre Miller, Alexis Lafreniere, Filip Chytil and Vitali Kravtsov. It’s likely that Tarasenko is strictly a rental and will test the free agency market this summer.