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Committing eight years and $60 million to a 23-year-old winger with 179 games to his credit has its risks.
Does the contract take away incentive to earn bigger ones down the line? Does it throw off chemistry in the room, as one player breaks the bank in ways veteran good soldiers haven’t?
This is why St. Louis Blues fans should be doing the happy happy joy joy dance over Vladimir Tarasenko’s comments about his new contract, via the St. Louis Post Dispatch. This kid has his head on straight, or at least is saying the rightest of right things about his new contract.
From Jeremy Rutherford, Tarasenko said this week:
"This is not about the money," he said. "This is about your personality, how you can talk to the guys, how you can help the guys. I think money is important, but in the leadership terms, this is nothing. You can sign $50 million-dollar contract in one year, but teammates can hate you. I work hard the last three years to make the leadership group. My teammates, my coach, and my general manager trust me. I will try to make them happy."
Back in the fold now, Tarasenko says he's ready to get started. After arriving in St. Louis in early September last season, he says he'll come a month sooner this year.
"Five days ago, we had a huge (wedding) celebration with all of our friends," Tarasenko said. "Those were 4-5 days, so we don't need to celebrate more. It's time to work right now, there's no time to celebrate anymore.
"It was tough years for (the Blues). We need to stay all together, all 25-26 guys together. I think the main part for me, we need to have one goal. It's not about points, it's not about goals, it's not about whatever. It's all about the Cup. If 26 guys do the same thing, I think we can make it."
Granted, a guy making $7.5 million until 2023 can play the “it’s not about the stats it’s about the Cup” thing all day long, because it literally doesn’t matter what he does offensively for the next eight years insofar as personal gain.
But it’s still awesome to hear a player like Tarasenko acknowledge what the ultimate goals in his career are.
It’s also awesome to hear him acknowledge that with great salary comes great responsibility, i.e. trying not to make your teammates loathe you and your paycheck. Which is why he’s worked hard to not just be a star player for the Blues but one of their leaders, and that’s why he’ll likely end up with an ‘A’ on his chest next season for coach Ken Hitchcock.
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