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In this edition of the hotstove, we share our thoughts on which teams seem like good fits for St. Louis Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko.
The Los Angeles Kings seem like a fun landing spot for me (if Tarasenko is willing to waive).
They’ve built up a very strong farm system over the last few years, which should set them up nicely to contend for a long while. And they do have some high-end talent on the roster now to help the kids along and accelerate the process.
One thing they could really use is more firepower on the wing. They took a big step towards addressing that issue when they acquired Viktor Arvidsson from the Nashville Predators.
If the Blues are selling low, so to speak, on Tarasenko – he’s likely not going to command a huge return given his recent injury history and fat contract at a time where many teams want to shave money – then LA could be a nice fit.
Let’s say the Kings get Tarasenko. Their forward group would suddenly look a lot more potent. They’d have Tarasenko, Arvidsson, Anze Kopitar, Alex Iafallo, Dustin Brown and Adrian Kempe to spearhead the charge while youngsters like Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Gabe Vilardi, Quinton Byfield, and Rasmus Kupari slowly grab lineup spots and start rising the tide.
I don’t think LA would have to mortgage the future to get Tarasenko by any stretch and, if he still has gas in the tank, he could help the Kings become competitive again before their older stars (like Kopitar) *really* start to slow down.
The teams that make sense to acquire Tarasenko are teams that
A) Have an abundance of cap space to fit the contract
B) Have assets in younger prospects or cap to make a deal work
C) Have a need on the wing for such a player
For me the New Jersey Devils check all of those boxes. The Devils have some great young pieces in the mix with Hischier, Hughes, Sharangovich, Wood and more however they lack an experienced veteran who can play at that high level. They had that guy in Kyle Palmieri before trading him at the deadline and that is a hole that GM Tom Fitzgerald should be looking at addressing.
The Devils have the assets to make this work. They hold two first round picks in this year's draft and are not missing any draft picks over the next couple of seasons. They also could offer the Blues some good young pieces to build around with the many pending RFA's that NJ will have to deal with over the next couple seasons.
Obviously there is huge risk and question marks surrounding Tarasenko but if he could return to even 75% of his previous skill level than it would give the Devils a really good asset who could help to develop and improve the young core that is being built.