Rangers GM Chris Drury pulls off heist to acquire Vladmir Tarasenko from St. Louis

Vladmir Tarasenko, new york rangers
Dec 23, 2022; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko (91) awaits a faceoff against the Vegas Golden Knights during the third period at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers have acquired Vladimir Tarasenko and Nikko Mikkola from the St. Louis Blues in an announcement on Thursday afternoon.

General Manager Chris Drury addressed the team’s need for a top-six scoring forward, concluding a trade with the St. Louis Blues that brings forward Vladimir Tarasenko and defenseman Nikki Mikkola to Broadway in a Thursday afternoon trade.

The Rangers sent Sammy Blais, a conditional first-round pick in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2024 NHL Entry Draft, and Hunter Skinner.  

Tarasenko, 31, has skated in 38 games for the St. Louis Blues this season, tallying 10 goals and 19 assists for 29 points. From the beginning of the season until December 27, Tarasenko’s 29 points and 19 assists ranked third on the Blues, and his 10 goals ranked tied for third on the team. 

The Yaroslavl, a Russia native, has played 11 seasons in the NHL (2012-13 – 2022-23), all with the Blues, where he’s collected 262 goals and 291 assists for 553 points in 644 games. Last season, Tarasenko notched career-highs in assists (48) and points (82). In his career, he has scored 30-plus goals on six different occasions, with his career-high total coming in 2015-16 (40).

General Manager Chris Drury spoke about the trade after it was finalized, “It’s something we’ve been looking at for a while. When the pieces started coming together, I didn’t see any reason to wait.”

Per Mercogliano

Mikkola, 26, has notched three assists/points and a plus-2 rating in 50 games with St. Louis this season. He ranks third on the team in hits with 96, third in blocked shots with 68, and has the second most shorthanded time on ice on the club (92:34)  

The Kiiminki, Finland native has played parts of four seasons in the NHL, all with the Blues (2019-20 – 2022-23), where he’s collected four goals and 16 assists for 20 points in 139 games. Last season, he posted career-highs in games played (54), goals (3), assists (10), and points (13). In addition, Mikkola has added two assists/points in 16 playoff games with the Blues over two seasons.  

The Rangers still have a little wiggle room to make another minor deal to upgrade the bottom six once Libor Hajek is either claimed or clears waivers ( he was waived earlier today). The Rangers will then have a 22-man roster and a little over $1M in available cap space. That number can grow to around $1.54M by the March 3rd deadline giving the Blueshirts a little room should they make another trade.

Projected lines

Panarin – Zibanejad – Tarasenko

Kreider – Trocheck – Vesey

Lafreniere – Chytil – Kakko

Goodrow – Leschyshyn – Gauthier

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my good friend and Rangers season ticket holder for over 20 years, Rocco Ciccone, for letting me know the rumors were in full flight earlier this afternoon. Good job, my man!

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