Connect with us

Detroit Red Wings

Tarasenko Gives Detroit Fifth Proven 30-Goal Scorer



Vladimir Tarasenko, Red Wings

General manager Steve Yzerman’s commitment to rebuilding the Red Wings through the draft doesn’t mean he won’t turn to proven performers when it comes to making a run at the postseason.

The re-signing of Patrick Kane and the signing of Vladimir Tarasenko means the Red Wings will start the 2024-25 season with five proven 30-plus goal scorers among their top six forwards. Tarasenko has netted 30 or more goals six times, including 34 for the St. Louis Blues in 2021-22.  He netted 23 last season with time spent between the Ottawa Senators and Stanley Cup champion Florida Panthers.

“I still love the game a lot,” Tarasenko said. “I still love to score and just want to prove people I can do it more. And in the meantime, helping the team to step on the next level.”

Tarasenko-Kane Connection

Coach Derek Lalonde has the final say, but Tarasenko, 32, will either play with J.T. Compher and Patrick Kane or with Dylan Larkin and Lucas Raymond.

Social media suggests there is romance to the idea of playing Tarasenko and Kane together. Kane, 35, has five seasons with 30 or more. He managed 20 goals in 50 games last season.

Tarasenko says playing with Kane would be “amazing.” They’ve both been right wings for most of their career.

Having Kane and Tarasenko on the same team makes the Red Wings a better bet to make the playoffs.

“We played against each other for so many years,” Tarasenko said. “(If) somebody told me at that time, we’ll maybe play together as a line. I’ll be like, there is no way. But I played left last year for the first time in my life. I never played left before I came to Ottawa. I always play only right and I took a little bit of time for me to understand the systems, like how the team play and if you know what you’re doing on the ice. I don’t think there is a difference, like what wing you play. Obviously right is more natural. But like last year I played left in Florida sometimes too, so it’s not a new thing now.”

Yzerman signed Tarasenko as an unrestricted free agent, but it unfolded like a trade. The Red Wings moved Robby Fabbri and his $4 million salary, plus a conditional fourth-round pick, to the Anaheim Ducks to create cap space necessary to sign Tarasenko to a two-year deal at $4.75 million per season.

Recruiting Tarasenko

Getting a second year was critical to wooing Tarasenko.

“My kids play hockey, too,” Tarasenko said. “I know Detroit (has) one of the best youth hockey programs in the States, which is nice, too. And it’s not only what’s happened in hockey. We have a lot of things happening in our lives in the last year. Last year was hard and we are obviously very happy for a trust from our organization. Give us a deal and, we can come and settle and be together as a family.”

Kane’s re-signing was aided by two trades. Even though Kane played for Detroit last season, his signing seems like a new deal because the Red Wings didn’t have enough cap space to do everything they wanted to do. They gave up promising prospect defenseman Andrew Gibson in a deal to get a second-round pick from Nashville. They moved that pick to San Jose as a payment to get them to take Jake Walman and his $3.5 million.

In other words, they traded Gibson and Walman to obtain the cap space they needed to afford his $4 million base salary. (He has makeable bonuses that allow him to earn up to $6.5 million.)

Two Productive Lines

Yzerman said obtaining Kane and his 471 career NHL goals was a priority.  The Red Wings lost more goals than they gained, but now their top two lines have the potential to be high scoring. Kane, Tarasenko, DeBrincat, Raymond and Larkin could all potentially score 30.  Given who is wingers will be, Compher might hit 20 for the first time in his career.

“I feel like last year was very close (for Detroit),” Tarasenko said. “I’m not a person who just comes and hangs out, enjoy my time. I try to win. I really like winning, and we just won the second Cup. But I will do everything I can to help the organization to take the next step, help the guys, share my experience, just do my best to be able to make a playoffs. And once you make a playoffs, you never know what’s gonna happen. So that’s the reason I come, because I like the way the team played, and I believe this team can make (the) playoffs and do special things.”