How Tarasenko Injury Could Impact Blues Stanley Cup Odds
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The defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues came into Monday fresh off a road win in Detroit, with a winning record overall and at +1700 on most bookmakers’ lists, including 888sport, to repeat as champions.
Then came early Monday afternoon. That was when it was announced that their best offensive player, Vladimir Tarasenko, would be lost for a minimum of five months following surgery on his left shoulder.
Expect those NHL futures betting odds to drop soon. This injury is obviously very bad news for the Blues. Tarasenko is easily the most talented offensive player for St. Louis and he’d been out to a great start with 10 points in his first 10 games. He is the Blues’ leading scorer from the previous five seasons. This is Tarasenko’s second serious surgery on his left shoulder in the last 18 months.
Robert Thomas, a promising young forward, is his likely replacement.
The larger question, especially for hockey futures betting enthusiasts, is: If Tarasenko returns in five months, that would still be in time for the playoffs. But can the Blues still be a playoff team without Tarasenko for most, if not all, of the regular season?
GM Doug Armstrong will address the media about Tarasenko's injury on Tuesday. #stlblues— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) October 28, 2019
Tough question. While the Blues showed you don’t need a lot of big names to win a Stanley Cup, they never would have won one without Tarasenko. The NHL’s Central Division doesn’t look to be as good as advertised this year but it’s still very tough and the Blues are 6-3-3 with a negative goal differential (37-39).
The Blues also have another problem: While they put Tarasenko and his $7.5 million on long-term injury reserve, which allows them to use that money on a rental/trade replacement, they probably would have to choose between Tarasenko and the higher-priced replacement – but not keep both.
The Blues only had a little less than $200,000 in available salary cap space before the news on Tarasenko. So let’s say they get a guy with a $7 million cap hit via trade. If the Blues think Tarasenko would be back in five months, before or at the playoffs, they’d be nearly $7 million over the cap by then and would have to shed that money somehow.
Not easy to do at the deadline, especially if you’re wanting to really go for another Cup.
The bottom line: The Blues’ chances to repeat as champions took a pretty big hit today. Betting enthusiasts need to take note.