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Should The Bruins Bite on Vladimir Tarasenko?

As the Tampa Bay Lightning won their second Stanley Cup in two years, it was announced that St. Louis Blues’ Forward, Vladimir Tarasenko requested a trade. Tarasenko had spent 9 years in St. Louis, including 2019 where he helped the Blues beat the Bruins to win the Stanley Cup. However, the Russian forward has only played 34 games in the past two seasons due to injury issues. With Tarasenko wanting out of St. Louis, should the Bruins consider making an offer?

Tarasenko Goal
Tarasenko scores a dazzling one handed goal against the Rangers in 2014. (Via Sportsnet)

What Tarasenko Has to Offer

Vladimir Tarasenko has been one of the best players in the NHL over the last decade. Before requiring shoulder surgery in late 2019, Tarasenko was consistently putting up 30-plus goal scoring seasons. When he came into the league, he quickly earned a reputation of a highly skilled goal scorer. His talent has helped lead the Blues to becoming a mainstay in the NHL’s Western Conference Playoffs.

While his goal scoring skill is exceptional, what cannot be ignored is his recent injury issues. Tarasenko has spent much of the last two NHL seasons on the sidelines recovering from injuries. For any athlete, coming off of a stretch like that could result in a rapidly declining performance. Tarasenko did not play the full 2021 season, but in 24 games, he only scored 4 goals and 10 assists. While he was dealing with injury, this could be a sign of decline for the veteran foward.

What do the Bruins need?

The Bruins have has an issue with depth scoring for several years now. In fact, it was one of the factors that allowed Tarasenko and the Blues to best them in the 2019 Cup Final. Boston did seem to have found a good solution in Taylor Hall this past trade deadline, but Hall is now a free agent. Even if Hall seems like he wants to return to Boston, the Bruins have to make sure they are not left with a hole on their second line. Going for Tarasenko could ensure that.

Having a goal scoring threat like Tarasenko on the second line would be very beneficial for Boston. It would help take the pressure off of the top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak. Having top level goal scoring come out on back to back shifts would be deadly for Boston. Teams would have a much harder time trying to defend the Bruins’ attack.

Bruins Forward Taylor Hall
Taylor Hall in Boston. (Via USA Today)

Can/Should the Bruins make a trade?

Unlike a potential Jack Ehichel trade, The Bruins could potentially make a competitive offer. Tarasenko still would demand a high price, but with his age and injury issues, he most likely will not cost an arm and a leg. The Bruins have a large prospect pool they can draw from and draft picks are always an option. Tarasenko in a Bruins jersey could very well happen.

But because the Bruins can make a trade, does not mean they should. The Bruins first priority should be re-signing Taylor Hall and David Krejci. Those two players worked very well for the short time they were together in Boston. The Bruins potentially as well could potentially sign both Hall and Krejci combined for a cap hit less than Tarasenko.

The idea of an offer for Tarasenko should still not be thrown out though. Even if the Bruins resgin both Hall and Krejci, the Bruins may very well have the cap space required to take on Tarasenko’s contract. While not the most potentially cap friendly deal, the Bruins could make this trade if they want to go all in for a Stanley Cup run in 2022.

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