One of the most interesting players left exposed for the Seattle Kraken expansion draft is St. Louis Blues star Vladimir Tarasenko, whose shoulder surgeries have led to a sharp decline from his past goal-scoring prime. But the surgeon who performed Tarasenko's most recent surgery says there should be no concern about his ability to still have an impact in the NHL.
“Vlad’s shoulder is very stable and strong,” Dr. Peter Millett said in an interview with Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic. “He told me it is more stable and stronger than it has felt in a long while. To me, it feels rock solid. There is no doubt, Vlad will be 100 per cent ready for the upcoming season. I am confident he will be ready to play and that he will make a big impact for his team.”
Dr. Millett operated on Tarasenko 11 months ago but it was the third shoulder surgery the winger had undergone since 2018. While the doctor couldn't comment on procedures performed by other physicians, he said his surgery -- known as a Laterjet -- should prevent further dislocations.
“The Latarjet is used typically for people like Vlad’s situation,” he said. “We take a piece of the bone and rebuild that and make the socket concave, so that the ball will stay in that. It also stabilizes the shoulder because there’s some additional tendons attached to that bone that help push the ball back into the socket when the arm is put up in external rotation and over the head. So that adds additional stability to it.”
— Sportsnet PR (@SportsnetPR) July 20, 2021
Tarasenko missed the first half of the season while recovering from Dr. Millett's procedure and scored only four goals in 24 games once he returned to the lineup. After the season ended with the Blues being swept by the Colorado Avalanche, the 29-year-old requested a trade due to the fact that he believes "there’s no trust left between him and the organization," Rutherford reported earlier this month.
After a trade failed to materialize, the Blues opted to expose Tarasenko to the Kraken and protect Ivan Barbashev. While we won't learn until Wednesday whether the Kraken chose to take on the final two years of Tarasenko's contract -- which carries a $7.5 million cap hit -- Dr. Millett's comments suggest we could see the Russian sniper return to his goal-scoring ways soon. Whether that's with the Blues, Kraken or another team remains to be seen.