Friday, September 21, 2012

Tarasenko no longer expected to sign with SKA; Deal falls through

By Andrew Allsman| Posted: September 21st, 2012| Contact  |

St. Louis Blues forward, Vladimir Tarasenko, was schedule to arrive in St. Petersburg on Friday to sign a lockout contract with team SKA of the Kontinental Hockey League. However, that appears to no longer be the plan after team SKA confirmed Friday that they were unable to reach an agreement with Tarasenko. 

Tarasenko's agent, former Blues goaltender Mike Liut, reportedly laid out new terms for a deal to be reached. The terms, which are unknown at this point, were unacceptable to team SKA.

The following was taken from team SKA's official website:

"After the NHL lockout announcement, SKA hockey club agreed to terms on a contract with forward Vladimir Tarasenko, who was supposed to arrive in Saint Petersburg on September 21 to sign it. However, shortly before the departure, Tarasenko's agent laid down new terms for the deal, which were unacceptable for the club, so SKA had to reject the deal. HC SKA hopes that sometime in future Vladimir will come back to play with SKA, which would surely make all the KHL fans happy."
Why the terms were unacceptable remains to be seen, but it appears at this point that Tarasenko will not be playing for his former Russian club.
Tarasenko was expected to make a considerable amount of money playing in the KHL, which is likely one of the reasons he chose to return to Russia instead of remaining in Peoria. If Tarasenko wishes to remain in Russia during the NHL lockout, he will have to find a way to negotiate a new deal with SKA or request the club trades his KHL rights. Both appear unlikely to happen.
Tarasenko is able to return to Peoria if he wishes. With a large number of NHL players being sent to their respective team's AHL clubs the AHL is considerably more skilled than it normally is, so Tarasenko would be able to improve his game and get accustomed to North America hockey.
Doug Armstrong said during a press conference earlier this month that both the KHL and AHL have their own benefits, though the AHL would be the preferred destination for the 20-year old Russian forward.
"There are advantages to both really. There’s the advantage of staying in North America and playing with some of the players he may play with and if we don’t start on time some of those players may go down to Peoria. He also will learn the culture not only on the ice but off the ice as well.  With going home, he has developed over there and has become a very good player over there so I think it is going to be a win-win. Whatever we jointly decide is best for him is the way we are going to go.”
Tarasenko has expressed his commitment to the Blues and will re-join them whenever the lockout concludes. Where he will play until then is unknown.