Tarasenko Decision Coming
The IIHF Men’s World Championships won’t be nearly as interesting for Blues fans this year as in the past. Last year Patrik Berglund’s eight goals and ten points earned him All-Star honors and Alex Pietrangelo was named the tournament’s best defenseman.
This year Blues fans can’t wait for the tournament to end. That’s when they’ll learn whether or not super-prospect Vladimir Tarasenko will sign with the St. Louis Blues and start preparing for life in the National Hockey League.
Sources say we should know one way or another by the first or second week of June. It will help GM Doug Armstrong know how active he needs to be in free agency which begins July first.
To be honest it’s nearly impossible to predict whether or not Tarasenko will be in a Blues uniform next season. I get varied indications throughout the year and it simply comes down to what the player wants to do. Many of these Russian players pay attention to what their fellow countrymen are doing and you can be sure Tarasenko has an eye other young Russian prospects.
Tarasenko is well aware of the Blues desire to get him over here. The contract negotiations shouldn’t be a huge deal but he does have some leverage considering the KHL is an option.
How far will he push for “B” level performance bonuses? These are very hard to attain but they do count against the salary cap. These bonuses are paid out for elite league awards such as the Hart Trophy and finishing in the top 10 in league scoring. B bonuses max out at $2 million.
Recently Jaden Schwartz, who was picked just two spots ahead of Tarsenko, received all of his A bonuses but no B bonuses in his entry level contract. A Bonuses are paid out for goals, assists, points etc…
Personally I’d be surprised if Armstrong budged on the B bonuses as it sets a precedent for other players in the future. If this becomes a deciding factor on whether or not Tarasenko signs it would make you question how badly he wants to be an NHL player.
I don’t expect this to be an issue.
I would imagine the Blues would like to sign him as quickly as possible to allow time for him to come over and get acclimated with the United States. I’m told he’s likely to train this summer in Minnesota if he signs.
There’s no question Scott Nichol, Jamie Langenbrunner, and Jason Arnott played a tremendous role in leading the Blues to a first place finish in the Central division. Their wallets have been rewarded as a result.
All three players received various bonus money for games played, making the playoffs or other bonuses. Armstrong isn’t big on bonuses for individual achievements such as goals and points. Arnott received close to an extra $400,000, Langenbrunner an extra $150,000, and Nichol pocketed and additional $100,000 for games played and face off %.
Stillman Closing in?
We should be hearing news of Tom Stillman closing his purchase of the St. Louis Blues sometime soon.
These deals are always complicated and never go smoothly. I remember covering the Dave Checketts transaction and that deal falling apart twice at the last minute before it was finalized.
A source close to the sale tells me there are a few last-minute adjustments to the legal documents, just the typical refinements that are normal as closing approaches. None of the current issues or delays are considered deal breakers.
Ty Rattie continues to lead all WHL scorers with 27 points in 13 games. He also leads all players with 16 goals. Portland leads Tri-Cities 2-0 in the third round of the WHL playoffs. Rattie’s hat trick including the OT winner led Portland to a 5-4 win in game 2.
Former 5th rounder Cody Beach is sixth in the playoffs with 20 penalty minutes. His 229 penalty minutes led the league during the regular season. His Moose Jaw Warriors trail the Edmonton Oil Kings 3-0 in their best of seven series.
The Saint John Sea Dogs hold a 2-1 series lead on Chicoutimi. Blues prospects Steven MacAulay has 11 points in 11 games while Ryan Tesink has 12 points in 11 games.
Shawinigan and Yannick Veilleux were eliminated by Chicoutimi in the second round. Shawinigan now prepares for the Memorial Cup where they receive an automatic berth as the host team. Veilleux has 11 points in 11 playoff games.
Former Tampa Bay third rounder Brock Beukeboom and his Niagara Ice Dogs are up 2-1 on Ottawa in the OHL Eastern Conference finals. Beukeboom came over to the Blues in the Eric Brewer trade. The defensive D-man has three points in 13 playoff games.
Former NHL player Terry Yake joins me tonight for Blues Buzz on am 590 the Fan. The show starts broadcasts live from Johnny Mac's sporting goods and begins at 6:00. Yake recently won the Senior National Championship, the Allen Cup, up in Canada.
The NHL has announced the round 2 schedule for the Blues and Kings. Games 1 and 2 will be played Saturday and Monday. The times will be announced later this week once the Eastern Conference has wrapped up all of their first round action. NBC likely wants the the New York Rangers to play the afternoon game on Saturday.
More to come,
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