There are two big trade chips for the St. Louis Blues this season. Ryan O’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko are both on expiring contracts and will likely fetch high prices at the deadline, if the team decides to move on. Unfortunately, there is now also the question of whether they will be healthy enough to contribute.
O’Reilly and Tarasenko have both been moved to injured reserve with long-term issues. O’Reilly is dealing with a broken foot and will be re-evaluated in six weeks, while Tarasenko has a hand injury and will be re-evaluated in four weeks. The team has recalled Jake Neighbours to fill in.
It’s brutal timing for a club that is trying to get back into the playoff race, or at least pump the value of these players before the deadline. The Blues are 17-17-3 on the year and sit in fifth place in the Central Division.
O’Reilly, 31, has ten goals and 16 points on the year, not exactly the season many expected as he approaches free agency. The veteran center has been known for his playmaking ability, racking up at least 35 assists in each of the last nine non-shortened seasons. With just six in 2022-23, he’s on pace for his worst season in more than a decade.
The 31-year-old Tarasenko on the other hand is having another strong offensive campaign, scoring 29 points in 34 games so far. One of the most impressive stories of 2021-22, Tarasenko came back from major shoulder surgery to score 34 goals and 82 points. A threat to light the lamp every time he touches the ice, the Russian winger figured to be a perfect trade deadline target for clubs looking to inject offense into their top-six.
Such a frustrating season