Sometimes when a player requests a trade, the speculation of your team landing that guy is merely that: speculation, combined with a little wishful thinking.
But St. Louis Blues sniper Vladimir Tarasenko's case is different, because he's reportedly requested a trade and provided his team with a list of approved trade destinations.
And guess who's on that list? The Flyers, along with a handful of other teams, sources told The Athletic's Jeremy Rutherford:
"Tarasenko has given the Blues a list of at least 10 clubs to which he can be traded, and we think we know a majority of those: the Rangers, Islanders, Golden Knights, Bruins and Flyers we reported previously, and you can add the Lightning, Capitals and Panthers to that list."
Look at the Flyers, getting a nod with some of the league's top squads from Tarasenko! That's not bad, reputation-wise, even if nothing comes from this.
Rutherford also floated this hypothetical deal: The Flyers get the right winger Tarasenko, and the Blues get center Morgan Frost and defenseman Philippe Myers.
Hmm. Is he worth giving up two youngsters who Flyers fans are excited about?
Value-wise, you can't get Tarasenko for pennies on the dollar. He turns 30 in December and is just a few years removed from being one of the league's deadliest scoring threats, a perennial 30-goal scorer who could snipe with the NHL's best.
But shoulder problems have hampered the Russian wing and he's played just 34 games since the Blues' Stanley Cup run in the 2018-19 season, scoring seven goals and tallying 24 points.
The Flyers have plenty of holes to fill this offseason, and the real concerns start at the blue line — hence the chatter surrounding Seth Jones, Dougie Hamilton, and the like. But adding a top-six forward for scoring depth to a team that finished in the middle of the league in goals last season couldn't hurt.
Sure, Tarasenko's not the spring chicken he once was, and the lingering shoulder problems aren't exactly enticing ... but his ceiling should still be considered high. He wasn't tailing off before he suffered the shoulder injury, he just got hurt. He's scored at least 20 goals in each season where he's played 75 percent of the team's games, and over his last five full seasons he's averaged 36.4 goals and 71.2 points per season. The guy produces.
Money-wise, Tarasenko doesn't come cheap — he's owed $9.5 million in 2021-22 and $5.5 million in 2022-23, which would immediately make him the highest-paid Flyers next year. The Flyers will have someone come off the books in the expansion draft, but if they want to shore up their defensive corps (which they need to), spending all that money on a forward might not be prudent, even if it would be exciting.
Earlier this month, Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said the trade "phones have been busy" ahead of the expansion draft and the 2021 NHL draft, but he doesn't sound like he wants to rush into anything:
"We certainly aren't going to be making a trade today or tomorrow, unless something unexpected breaks."
Ultimately, while adding Tarasenko would probably give things a little jolt excitement-wise and he would almost certainly thrive if healthy, this move doesn't make a whole bunch of sense at the moment.
But if in a few weeks' time Jakub Voracek and his cap hit have moved to Seattle and Tarasenko is still available, perhaps we'll have a different conversation.
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