I’ve got to think that’s exactly the face I’d make if I were 23-years-old and was offered $60 million over 8-years to play hockey.  Vladimir Tarasenko just signed that exact dream contract to continue his hockey career with the St. Louis Blues.

After coming off a 37 (mostly highlight reel) goal season Tarasenko was entering restricted free agency and the hockey world knew he was going to cash in.  He is a genuine gun in the league and does nothing but bury beautiful goals.  His hands and scoring touch are as elite as it gets in the NHL.  And to be honest, I thought he was going to get more than what he did.  I felt the starting point was at least $8 million and they’d end up around $8.5 million per year over 8 years.  Instead they come in at $7.5 million per year over the same term.

This is certainly the biggest monetary signing of the off-season and it was a forgone conclusion that Vladimir Tarasenko would re-sign and remain with the Blues.  What makes this signing interesting beyond the amount of zeros on the check is the fact that he skyrocketed to stardom and cash.  Often in the NHL when a young player has a breakout year, or is trending upward toward the end of their entry-level NHL contract, the team and player will reach a deal that is more of a safe play in the middle for each party.  The team wants to protect themselves from overpaying too soon yet the player is still happy with a significant raise from their rookie deal.  In this case both sides skipped that step and went straight Powerball with the multiplier.

I like this move and I feel it’s a safe one for St. Louis.  It’s the best contract going by far, for years to come, for what is one of the best snipers in the world.  If Tarasenko is basically this productive going forward (75+ points per year) it will be a great deal for the organization for years to come.  Players with nearly a point-per-game average and do it in the spectacular fashion Tarasenko does don’t come along all that often.  Even 3 or 4 years from now when the cap is higher this deal will look like a bargain for a player of his caliber.  The only question going forward is has St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong been studying at the Peter Chiarelli School of Cap Management with his roster?  They have some hefty contracts on the books now and even though Tarasenko is worth his the space is getting tight.

It seems a Kevin Shattenkirk trade to the Boston Bruins is the only logical next move for the St. Louis Blues. (I kid, but always hope…)