Vladimir Tarasenko had a conference call with reporters this morning, the day after his eight-year, $60 million extension with the Blues was announced.
Can you sense a theme?
The Blues, despite icing a number of strong teams since joining the NHL in 1967, have never won the Stanley Cup. The last three seasons they’ve had good teams during the regular season, only to be eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. They haven’t been past the second round since 2001.
In Tarasenko, the Blues boast an elite goal-scoring winger who’s only 23 years old.
“We saw, I think just the tip of the iceberg of what Vladi can do in this league last year,” GM Doug Armstrong said yesterday, per NHL.com.
“Vladimir signed for eight years, Alex Pietrangelo signed for (seven), I think the nucleus of our defense and our forwards are here for the foreseeable future and we can build around that group.”
Safe to say, if St. Louis doesn’t win a championship over the next five or six years — a period when Tarasenko and Pietrangelo will be right smack in their primes — it’ll be even more heartache for the Blues and their fans.
Related: Blues appear set in the short-term, but difficult decisions loom
The sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, Jake Virtanen has high expectations for next season.
“My goal is to make the team,” the 18-year-old said this week at Vancouver’s prospects camp, per the Times Colonist.
Virtanen is a big winger the Canucks are hoping can turn into an elite power forward.
If that description sounds familiar, it’s because the Canucks just traded away Zack Kassian, a big winger they’d hoped would turn into an elite power forward.
Canucks GM Jim Benning has said of Virtanen: “He knows how to hit. He likes to hit.” Which is something that was never said of Kassian during his time in Vancouver. In fact, some felt Kassian was miscast, that he’s really a finesse player, not a wrecking ball.
Virtanen concedes his defensive game remains a work in progress.
“A 200-foot game is what I have to work on,” he said.
And yes, they said that about Kassian, too.
Related: Kassian vows to give it all for Habs: ‘As you grow older, you mature’
The Colorado Avalanche have hired Dave Farrish to be an assistant coach on Patrick Roy’s staff.
“Dave brings a wealth of experience and hockey knowledge to our organization,” said Roy in a release. “He is the ideal candidate to complement our coaching staff and we look forward to working together to make our team as competitive as we can.”
Farrish was last an assistant coach with the Maple Leafs. He was fired in May of 2014, at the same time Randy Carlyle was given a two-year extension.
It was reported in May that the Avs were interested in hiring Farrish.
The St. Louis Blues have signed forward Vladimir Tarasenko to an eight-year, $60 million contract.
With a cap hit of $7.5 million, the deal makes Tarasenko the highest-paid player on the Blues.
One of the league’s top young stars, the 23-year-old had 37 goals in 2014-15, fewer than only four others in the NHL. He added six more goals in six playoff games.
The Blues drafted Tarasenko 16th overall in 2010.
As far as recent comparables go, it’s not easy to come up with many, given Tarasenko was a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level deal. Brandon Saad just signed a six-year, $36 million deal with Columbus, but his production pales next to Tarasenko’s.
Elite scoring wingers-wise, Phil Kessel is on an eight-year deal with an $8 million cap hit (shared now by both the Leafs and Penguins), while Corey Perry is also on an eight-year deal, with an $8.625 million cap hit.
Kessel, 27, and Perry, 30, each have a longer track record, but Tarasenko is considerably younger. And, of course, Kessel and Perry signed those deals as pending unrestricted free agents, which gave them more leverage in negotiations.
The Carolina Hurricanes are keeping a familiar face in the fold. The club announced today that it has comes to terms with forward Zach Boychuk on a one-year, two-way contract worth $600,000 in the NHL and $200,000 in the AHL.
“This will be Zach’s eighth season in our organization,” said GM Ron Francis in a release. “He’s a reliable depth forward who we know is capable of contributing offensively at either level.”
The ‘Canes drafted Boychuk 14th overall in 2008. The 25-year-old split last season between AHL Charlotte and Carolina. In 31 games with the ‘Canes, he had three goals and three assists.