St. Louis Blues star forward Vladimir Tarasenko won a Stanley Cup with the team in 2019, but his relationship with the organization has soured since, to the point where he requested a trade from the franchise in 2021. That request has never been rescinded, and there's next to zero chance the team will be able to re-sign the pending unrestricted free agent in the offseason.
The 31-year old sniper has a full no-trade clause, and there's a good chance he will ride out the final season of his contract in St. Louis and then hit the market in the summer. But there is always a market for a goal-scoring winger in the NHL at the trade deadline, especially one who has eclipsed the 30-goal mark six times; he scored 34 goals in 75 games and added 48 assists to return to point per game status in 2021-22.
Tarasenko just can't seem to stay healthy, and has missed more time this season with a hand injury. That could scare off potential suitors, especially considering he's only scored ten goals this season. That being said, the Russian star can still help a team compete and be an important part of its top-six for a deep playoff run.
Blues general manager Doug Armstrong should try to trade the winger before the deadline rather than let him walk for nothing as a UFA at the close of the 2022-23 season. That is especially true considering the Blues are under .500 at 23-24-3, and sit eight points behind the Colorado Avalanche for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Central Division is just too strong, and the St. Louis Blues should cut their losses and trade him at the NHL's deadline to one of these four teams.
New Jersey Devils
The Devils are the surprise of the National Hockey League this season, compiling an outstanding 32-13-4 record to sit second in the Metropolitan Division heading into the All-Star break. They have expressed interest in adding another top-six winger, and have already been linked to San Jose Sharks' star Timo Meier.
New Jersey could probably get Tarasenko for even less considering his injury history, and he would be electric on a line with breakout superstar and former No. 1 overall pick Jack Hughes down the stretch. The Devils have finally put it all together with great goaltending from Vitek Vanecek, phenomenal defense led by Dougie Hamilton, and a forward core that boasts a legitimate top-10 player in Hughes, along with fellow point per game studs Jesper Bratt and Nico Hischier. Add Vladimir Tarasenko to that top-six and the Devils will truly be primed for a deep playoff run.
New York Rangers
The main draw for Tarasenko in New York, besides playing on Broadway, would be reuniting with compatriot Artemi Panarin. Tarasenko and Panarin were linemates in the 2011 World Junior Hockey Championships, and absolutely ripped it up along with Evgeny Kuznetsov, en route to the country's first and only gold medal since the Alex Ovechkin days in 2003.
The Rangers are starved for top-end wingers besides Panarin, due to the regression of Chris Kreider and slow development of former No. 1 and 2 overall picks Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko, and Tarasenko would be the perfect fit on a line with Panarin down the stretch. The Rangers have the star power in Panarin and Mika Zibanejad, strong defense led by Adam Fox, and Vezina-level goaltending in Igor Shesterkin. Bringing another Russian to that group, especially one with Tarasenko's potential, would be a massive addition for the New York Rangers.
The Carolina Hurricanes have reportedly been checking in on all of the top available wingers as a possible scoring replacement for Max Pacioretty, who recently suffered another Achilles tendon injury. The Hurricanes have been phenomenal in the regular season over the past few seasons, but can't get over the hump in the playoffs since getting swept by the Boston Bruins in the 2019 Eastern Conference Final.
Vladimir Tarasenko would look great on Sebastian Aho's wing in a trade, or even across from Andrei Svechnikov; the two have played together in international tournaments in recent years. They're one of the most dominant defensive teams in the league, but are still a star attacker away from making their oh-so-elusive push towards a first Stanley Cup since 2006.
New York Islanders
The New York Islanders have been looking for a great winger since losing Jordan Eberle in the expansion draft, and after a strong start to the season, they've absolutely fallen off a cliff lately. They've won just two of their last ten games and not even the elite goaltending of Ilya Sorokin can keep them afloat, especially with injuries to defensemen Scott Mayfield and Noah Dobson.
A trade for right winger Vladimir Tarasenko would make sense; he'd be a great fit on star center Matthew Barzal's wing. The Isles have been unable to get him a star player for basically his entire career, and that needs to change. Tarasenko is a natural goal scorer who could capitalize on great feeds from the playmaking Barzal. The Islanders have plenty of picks and prospects who could go the other way, including Robin Salo and Sebastian Aho, which would be interesting for the Blues as they inevitably head towards a retool at the NHL trade deadline.