The St. Louis Blues have traded winger Vladimir Tarasenko and defenseman Niko Mikkola to the New York Rangers, New York introduced Wednesday. In return, St. Louis will obtain Sammy Blais, Hunter Skinner, a conditional 2023 first-round choose and a conditional 2024 fourth-round choose.
The Blues may even be retaining 50% of Tarasenko’s $7.5 million wage cap hit.
As they chase their first Stanley Cup since 1994, the Rangers have been out there for a top-six winger, and Tarasenko actually suits that invoice. Injuries have restricted Tarasenko to simply 38 video games performed this season, however in that point he has scored 10 targets whereas including 19 assists.
Those aren’t jaw-dropping numbers, however the accidents and the Blues’ total struggles might assist clarify that.
In 2021-22, Tarasenko was wholesome for a lot of the season and had top-of-the-line years of his profession. In 75 video games performed, Tarasenko scored 34 targets and set a profession excessive in assists (48) and factors (82). If he can play anyplace close to that degree in New York, the Rangers will probably be a harmful workforce within the postseason.
It’s not laborious to see the place Tarasenko might slot into the Rangers’ top-six ahead group. There’s an opportunity he might workforce up with fellow countryman Artemi Panarin on the highest line with Mika Zibanejad at heart. Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant might additionally attempt to kind a deadly scoring line by placing Tarasenko on the alternative facet of Chris Kreider with Vincent Trocheck within the center.
Mikkola, in his fourth NHL season, has primarily performed in a third-pairing function with the Blues. He will play an identical function with the Rangers, who waived Libor Hajek to make room for him on the roster.
On the opposite finish of the deal, Blais will probably be returning to St. Louis, the place he performed the primary 4 seasons of his NHL profession. In 40 video games this season, Blais has recorded 5 assists. Skinner, a low-level prospect for the Rangers, is enjoying for the Jacksonville Icemen of the ECHL.
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