Vladimir Tarasenko could start the season with the St. Louis Blues despite the forward asking for a trade, coach Craig Berube said.
“I expect ‘Vladi’ to play for us,” Berube said on “The Cam & Strick Podcast” on Tuesday. “I’m going to treat him like every other player. And yeah, he asked to be traded, and things happen, but again, you know, we want Vladi to play good hockey for us. … He’s going to have a role on the team like he always has, we’ll deal with it internally and we’ll go from there.
“You only can control so many things and there’s things you can’t control sometimes. So you just focus on what you can control. And that’s what we’re going to do.”
Tarasenko has been skating with teammates at the Blues’ practice facility, according to The Athletic.
He scored 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in 24 regular-season games and scored two goals in four Stanley Cup Playoff games last season. Tarasenko played his first game March 6; he was out the first two months of the season recovering from surgery on his left shoulder Sept. 17, 2020. He previously had surgery on his left shoulder in 2017 and 2019.
Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said July 22 that Tarasenko’s agent, Paul Theofanus, made the trade request for Tarasenko on May 25.
At the time Armstrong said it was possible Tarasenko would remain with the Blues.
“Oh no, I see there’s certainly an outlook where I envision him putting on the jersey again,” Armstrong said. “There’s many players in the NHL that have requested trades. You always try and keep it below the surface. But our responsibility is to do what’s best for the St. Louis Blues, and if it means that he comes back and plays for us, that’s the outlook that it has, but my responsibility is to the franchise and to do what’s best for the Blues and hopefully best for ‘Vladi.'”
The Blues left Tarasenko unprotected for the Seattle Kraken to take in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft, but Seattle instead made defenseman Vince Dunn its choice from St. Louis.
Tarasenko, who was selected by the Blues in the first round (No. 16) of the 2010 NHL Draft, is fifth all-time for St Louis with 218 goals, and his 442 points are 10th. He helped the Blues win the Stanley Cup in 2019, scoring 17 points (11 goals, six assists) in 26 games.
He has two seasons remaining on an eight-year, $60 million contract (average annual value $7.5 million) he signed July 7, 2015.