The latest trade rumors involving the Washington Capitals are that they are one of the teams interested in acquiring the rights to Vladimir Tarasenko of the St. Louis Blues. But would moving Evgeny Kuznetsov for the services of another fellow Russian superstar be worth it? Let’s take a look.
Tarasenko is an accomplished player, having helped lead the Blues to the Stanley Cup in 2019. Since winning the Cup, however, he has dealt with multiple injuries, making a move to acquire him seem risky. The 29 year old missed most of the last two seasons with shoulder surgeries.
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Tarasenko wanted out of St. Louis for the way they were handling his injury. He scored 14 points with four goals and 10 assists in 24 games in the 2021 season. The season prior, he appeared in just 10 games with three goals and seven assists for 10 points.
Here’s where I stand on this whole thing. I think the Caps should trade Evgeny Kuznetsov IF and ONLY IF, they were to get a top six center and a 2021 first round draft pick in return. That is when I would trade Kuznetsov. I certainly wouldn’t trade him to the Blues for a variety of reasons.
The first reason would be because of the injury woes this past season thus lowering his trade value. The second is the Caps are already fully stocked on the right side. I would think T.J. Oshie gets protected in the expansion draft too.
Another factor would be his cost. Tarasenko’s cap hit actually costs more than Kuznetsov’s. He will make $9.5 million next season in the seventh year of his eight year, $60 million contract. That would be too much of a price for the Caps if they were to move on from Kuznetsov, the reason being because he didn’t live up to his $7.8 million contract extension.
Another reason why a Tarasenko trade wouldn’t quite work is because he’s on the wrong side of his 20’s. At 29 it is still under the age 30 ceiling but that doesn’t help the Caps in their offseason goal of getting younger.
Now don’t get me wrong, Tarasenko is a great player with top six upside. The only way I would see it working is if the Caps lost Oshie in the expansion draft which thankfully seems more unlikely to happen now than it did in December. I just don’t see a need for him when dealing Kuznetsov should be a center in return.