Tarasenko expected to miss start of 2020-21 season for Blues

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Vladimir Tarasenko is expected to miss the start of next season after the St. Louis Blues forward has shoulder surgery next week.

The 28-year-old will be re-evaluated in five months.

The start of the 2020-21 NHL season has yet to be determined but is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 1.

Tarasenko had shoulder surgery Oct. 29 after being injured in a game against the Los Angeles Kings five days earlier. Prior to the injury, he scored 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in 10 games.

He did not play again until an exhibition game against the Chicago Blackhawks at Rogers Place in Edmonton, the Western Conference hub city, on July 29 but sat out the second of three round-robin games during the Stanley Cup Qualifiers. Tarasenko played Games 1 and 2 for the Blues in the Western Conference First Round against the Vancouver Canucks, but did not play the rest of the series, which defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis lost in six games. He had zero points in four postseason games.

“He had shoulder surgery, obviously, at the start of the season,” Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said Wednesday. “He rehabbed, he came back, we had to do another MRI. He wasn’t feeling good. That surgery didn’t take the way we had hoped. It wasn’t successful. He’s going to go back in and have more surgery next week and it’s serious in the sense that he won’t be with us and he won’t be reevaluated for five months after the date of surgery.

“It’s the third surgery. We’re hoping 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.” 

Tarasenko has scored 428 points (214 goals, 214 assists) in 507 games through eight seasons, including five straight seasons with at least 33 goals from 2014-19, and 49 points (33 goals, 16 assists) in 74 playoff games. He scored 17 points (11 goals, six assists) in 26 playoff games, while helping the Blues win their first Stanley Cup last season.

“I think he can have the same impact as before,” Armstrong said, “but it’s really irrelevant what I think or what I feel. It’s going to be how he does when he gets back.”

NHL.com Independent Correspondent Louie Korac contributed to this report

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