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With Tarasenko wanting out, meet a couple of veteran skaters who might be welcomed in
With Tarasenko wanting out, meet a couple of veteran skaters who might be welcomed in

With Tarasenko wanting out, meet a couple of veteran skaters who might be welcomed in

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Here are some of the highlights of our weekly chat with Blues fans.

Q: Is the relationship between the Blues and Tarasenko irreconcilable? … If a trade can’t be worked out by Saturday, will the Blues expose him in the Seattle draft?

A: I don't see any way Tarasenko is back with the Blues -- too many bridges burned. Yes, it's possible Tarasenko is exposed if the Blues cannot get a trade done by Saturday afternoon.

Q: Do the Blues would have any interest in Ryan Suter? If so, what do you think he's worth?

Wild Golden Knights Hockey

Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter (20) skates against the Vegas Golden Knights during the second period of Game 2 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series Tuesday, May 18, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)

A: I would think so, especially if they feel like they're in a win-now mode (GM Doug Armstrong says he views the window open as a Cup contender.) But Suter is 36. You certainly don't want to do anything long-term. And lots of times we've seen veterans near the end of their career taking less -- a lot less -- to be with a top Cup contender. I don't think the Blues fall into the realm of “top Cup contender” at this point.

Q: Any thoughts on the Blues signing Gabriel Landeskog?

Golden Knights Avalanche Hockey

Colorado Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog (92) warms up against the Vegas Golden Knights before Game 2 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series Thursday, May 27, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

A: He'd be perfect for what the Blues (and a lot of teams) need: a physical left winger (who can also play center), who can score, and who has leadership qualities. The Blues are definitely interested, and why wouldn't they be? Landeskog is coming off a contract in which he averaged $5.57 million cap hit a year, and he will get a raise. I know Colorado has Philipp Grubauer to re-sign and Cale Makar (as a restricted free agent). But they have $25 million in cap space, and I have to think they'll find a way to get it done.

Q: What’s the latest on Blues taking action regarding their three potential unrestricted free agents?

A: I believe Jaden Schwartz and Tyler Bozak will test the market. I believe the Blues want them to take pay cuts. Not sure as far as Mike Hoffman, but I think he tests the market, as well. Somewhat surprisingly, I think he is open to a potential return here.

Q: How can the Blues think the door to the Cup is still open? The 2019 team is no more. We are basically middle of the pack and starting over.

A: I don't know about “starting over,” but I'm kind of with you on this one. With all the losses on defense I have a hard time viewing this team as a Cup contender, even with some very good core players in Ryan O’Reilly, David Perron and Brayden Schenn, and promising young talent in Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou.

Q: Have you heard anything about the Blues' interest in Evgeny Kuznetsov? Is a trade involving him for Vladimir Tarasenko possible?

A: I have heard Kuznetsov's name mentioned in connection with Tarasenko. The Blues would be getting a net cap loss (of $300K) since Kuznetsov is making $7.8 million a year. They would be paying that $7.8M for four more years, although that shouldn't be a problem since he's only 29. He'd help on the power play, obviously, which could come in handy if Mike Hoffman and Tarasenko are gone. But I think the Blues would have to trade Tarasenko plus something else to get him. Also, Kutznetsov has a modified no-trade -- 15 teams according to CapFriendly.

Q: How safe is Craig Berube’s job going into the season?

Craig Berube

St. Louis Blues Head Coach Craig Berube talks with St. Louis Blues left wing Zach Sanford (12) and other player. Photo by Cheyenne Boone

A: I don't think there's any problem heading into the season. Coming out of the season might be a different matter if the team continues the sub-.500 level of hockey (29-30-10) it has played since entering the Edmonton bubble a year ago.

Q: How extreme will the changes to the Blues roster be for the start of the season?

A: There could be a lot of changes up front, that's for sure. Overall, it's not inconceivable that Vladimir Tarasenko, Vince Dunn, Jaden Schwartz, Mike Hoffman and Tyler Bozak all will be gone.

Q: What are the chances that NHL players will be part of the 2022 Winter Olympics?

A: The league and the players association are still working on it. In fact, the teams have been presented with two proposed schedules for next season -- one with a break for the Olympics, and one without such a break (meaning no NHL players at the Games). Something's got to be decided quickly, because the league wants to come out with the schedule before the NHL draft July 23-24.

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