The NHL’s trade deadline on March 3 is just under a month away, and tons of rumours have begun to gain steam. The Calgary Flames have been said to be setting their sights on acquiring scoring winger before the deadline arrives. With Jonathan Huberdeau not producing as he was hoped to, the Flames offence has struggled and acquiring that scoring winger could greatly help the team win games, secure standing points, and push for the playoffs.
Vladimir Tarasenko could be that winger that the Flames acquire. Tarasenko has been a part of an abundance of trade rumours due to the St. Louis Blues current place in the standings and his contract situation. After a few comments he made that were reported by Jeremy Rutherford, it seems that it’s a matter of when, not if Tarasenko gets traded.
Tarasenko by the numbers
Tarasenko is having disappointing season compared to last where he was over a point per game. To be fair, last year was a career year for him and this season looks solid compared to his seasonal offensive averages. If it stays around the same, his shooting percentage will finish the lowest it has in a full season in his career, so that could suggest he has been somewhat unlucky this season. Stats below are 5v5, score- and venue-adjusted from NaturalStatTrick.com.
Looking at these numbers alone, Tarasenko has struggled this season. He is not creating enough chances to outweigh the chances he has allowed. His PDO doesn’t help him either as it’s above 1.000 meaning that he’s had luck go his way—it’s not much, but still some luck.
Deeper dive into Tarasenko’s performance
Going to HockeyViz.com and looking at Tarasenko’s isolated impact chart, Tarasenko is probably better than what just his underlying numbers show. For those unfamiliar with these charts, the more and deeper the red the more offence and shots being generated, the more and deeper the blue, the less. So red is good and blue is bad for the offensive impact and the opposite for the defensive impact.
Tarasenko has posted a +2% for his offensive impact so far this year, so he’s an above-average skater in that regard. Moving to the defensive end of the ice, he has posted a +12%, which shows he has struggled tremendously with defence this season, but that’s pretty much been the norm for most of his career. A fantastic quality that Tarasenko has is his finishing, we can see he has a +3% in finishing this season putting him well above the league average.
Staying on HockeyViz.com, these charts show the Blues’ offence and defence with and without Tarasenko this season. These charts paint the prettiest picture for Tarasenko yet. With Tarasenko, the Blues offence has a +7% and an xGF/60 of 2.78, where without they have negative results and -8% and only 2.38 xGF/60. The trend of Tarasenko being an anchor in the defensive end continues as the Blues have +22% and an xGA/60 of 3.16 with him and only a +5% and xGA/60 of 2.73. Although his defensive game can be seen as a concern, Tarasenko is supposed to be an offensive threat so seeing how he has good offensive results, I wouldn’t be worried.
Could and should the Flames trade for Tarasenko?
Tarasenko does have a full no-trade clause and his availability for the Flames has been a bit confusing. Frank Seravalli reported saying: “I think the Blues and Flames have had some conversation. I can’t put my finger on whether it’s on Tarasenko or whether it’s on Barbashev.” So possibly the Flames and Blues have discussed Tarasenko, but Elliotte Friedman did report that when the Blues were trying to trade for Matthew Tkachuk that had to trade Tarasenko and he didn’t want to waive to Calgary. That was in the summer so there’s a chance that Tarasenko has changed his mind and will waive now.
So let’s say at this point Tarasenko desperately wants out of St. Louis and will waive his clause to Calgary, should the Flames trade for him? Tarasenko is talented and is also a pure goal scorer which is what the Flames are looking for. The hope would be that Tarasenko would click with Huberdeau and Kadri and be that finisher that line desperately needs. Acquiring Tarasenko would come down to how much it would cost to acquire him as the Flames aren’t in position to trade away much. If it comes down to trading away a first (and it’s likely it will), the Flames should back down.