Blues won’t extend Tarasenko ’til after season

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St. Louis tried to get started on a new contract for Vladimir Tarasenko earlier this season, but is now resigned to the fact it’ll have to wait until the year is over.

That’s per Sportsnet, who on Wednesday reported that Blues GM Doug Armstrong said there’ll be no Tarasenko extension until after the season. What’s more, Sportsnet also reported the Blues are unlikely to give the pending RFA a “bridge deal” — a shorter-term contract (often two-year) that would bring him to unrestricted free agency.

So, time to start speculating!

The 22-year-old Russian is in the midst of a breakout campaign, having already eclipsed his career-high in goals (24 thus far) while emerging as a point-a-game scorer. He’s also heading to his first All-Star Game in Columbus this weekend.

The 16th overall pick at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, it’s conceivable Tarasenko could get a contract similar to what fellow draft mates Taylor Hall got from Edmonton (seven years, $42 million) or Jeff Skinner got from Carolina (six years, $34.35 million). The rub there, of course, is that both those deals were signed shortly before the old collective bargaining agreement expired; under the new CBA, we’ve seen more bridge deals given to RFAs, including a contentious one hammered out between Columbus and the fourth overall pick in Tarasenko’s draft year — Ryan Johansen.

It’s also worth noting that St. Louis doesn’t have a ton of money being freed up at the end of the season. Barret Jackman and his $3.25M cap hit are done, but the Blues have to also re-up with another key RFA: Jake Allen, the club’s goalie of the future.