Why a Vladimir Tarasenko return to the Rangers is unlikely

new york rangers vladimir tarasenko
Feb 11, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; New York Rangers right wing Vladimir Tarasenko (91) looks on against the Carolina Hurricanes during the second period at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Almost since the moment Vladimir Tarasenko signed a one-year deal with the Ottawa Senators in the summer, many speculated a trade deadline return to the New York Rangers was likely.

That being said, that same speculation came with the caveat the Senators would need to retain some of Tarasenko’s $5 million salary in order for the cap-strapped Rangers to bring him back. Well thanks to rules in the collective bargaining agreement, that can’t happen.

Per the great salary cap website PuckPedia, due to the fact Tarasenko was on the Rangers roster last year (as of June 30, 2023) they can’t reacquire him in a retained salary transaction. They would need to wait one full calendar year to do so.

Additionally, for those looking for loopholes or cap magic, that also means trying to involve a third team and having them retain salary before trading Tarasenko to the Blueshirts.

Related: Ducks GM seen at Rangers game increasing trade rumors

Vladimir Tarasenko trade to Rangers unlikely

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Toronto Maple Leafs
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Tarasenko, 32, is having a nice season with the Senators. Through 55 games, he’s collected 15 goals and 23 assists for 38 points. Ottawa is expected to ask him to waive his no-trade clause soon in order to facilitate a trade before the 3 p.m ET deadline on Mar. 8th.

While it’s certain Tarasenko would waive to return to the Rangers, taking on his full cap hit would limit GM Chris Drury to just that one move based on their current available space. The fact that New York has multiple holes to fill aside from a top-six winger, including a third-line center and maybe a depth defenseman, it really makes any reunion impossible.

“Yeah, I enjoyed being here,” Tarasenko said after the Rangers were eliminated last season. “It’s one of the top organizations in the league, if not the best. They do everything for players.”

The Rangers acquired him at 50% salary retention from the St. Louis Blues along with Niko Mikkola prior to last year’s deadline. Tarasenko scored 50 points in 69 games for the 2023-23 campaign. The big right wing notched 21 of those points in 31 matches with the Blueshirts and added 3 goals and 4 points in 7 playoff contests.

At the end of the day, Tarasenko can’t be ruled out as a trade target. But acquiring him at full cap hit just doesn’t make sense for the Rangers this time around.

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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