Vladimir Tarasenko comments on trade request: 'I'm here to work'

St. Louis Blues star Vladimir Tarasenko. (Joe Puetz/AP)

How the St. Louis Blues handle the next stages of Vladimir Tarasenko's career is one of the more interesting storylines at their training camp.

The 29-year-old, who has struggled with a shoulder injury that has required three surgeries, was limited to 24 games in 2020-21 and just 10 in 2019-20. He managed a total of seven goals in those games (about a 16-goal pace over 82 games), which is a far fall from the five consecutive 30-plus goal seasons he posted before the injury.

In July, Jeremy Rutherford reported that Tarasenko had asked for a trade from the Blues and the forward addressed that situation on Thursday.

"My mindset is good. Happy to be with the guys," he said. "I have a good relationship with the guys. It's been a weird summer, but it's going to stay between us - between me and Doug (Armstrong). I'm here to work. As long as I play here, I will work 100 per cent. I'm 100 per cent healthy.

"(The trade request) is all behind. I don't see the reason to discuss it now. Camp starts, you know, and I don't want to be a distraction in the room. Like I said, I'm here to work. I'm healthy and I'm happy to play hockey again."

The Blues hit the ice for the first time Thursday and skated in two groups. Tarasenko joined the second group and reportedly shared a line with Robert Thomas and Brandon Saad.

In Rutherford's original report about the trade request, he wrote that Tarasenko was upset with the team's handling of his shoulder surgeries in 2018 and 2019, which were overlooked by team physicians leading to a lack of trust with the organization. The winger then went to a doctor not affiliated with the team at the Steadman Clinic in Edwards, Colo., for his third operation after ligament damage that wasn't found in the first two surgeries was seen by the clinic.

Tarasenko, who turns 30 in December, has two years remaining on a contract that counts for $7.5 million against the cap and a full no-trade clause. He was left unprotected for the Seattle Kraken at the expansion draft, but they decided to take Vince Dunn instead.

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