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Are The Predators Still Pursuing Vladimir Tarasenko?



Vladimir Tarasenko
Photo of Vladimir Tarasenko, left, and Juuse Saros by John Russell/Nashville Predators

With $7.9 million in available cap space, it wouldn’t be surprising if Nashville Predators general manager Barry Trotz made one more splash before the start of training camp in mid-September.

And while signing Ryan O’Reilly, Luke Schenn and Gustav Nyquist have already got plenty of people talking, adding free-agent forward Vladimir Tarasenko, who’s been linked to the Predators by several sources, would be the cherry on top of a bold first offseason for Trotz.

But is Tarasenko, who was once reported to be heading to Carolina before firing his agent, Paul Theofanous of TMI, and switching to J.P. Barry and Pat Brisson of CAA, a feasible option for the Predators? (Barry is also the agent for Predators forward Filip Forsberg).

In recent weeks, Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman have both reported that the Predators were one of a few teams along with the Ottawa Senators and San Jose Sharks to check in with Tarasenko after his deal with the Hurricanes fell through.

Sources have indicated to Nashville Hockey Now that the Predators did inquire about Tarasenko, but things have been quiet in the almost three weeks since. It appears Ottawa is the current front-runner, but Florida and Nashville are both still in the mix.

Despite fielding multiple offers in the $5.5M to $6M range, according to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, Friedman suggested the 31-year-old forward is content taking a wait-and-see approach after expressing frustration with the deals presented to him.

“I think Tarasenko will end up signing a one-year deal,” Friedman said. “I think Ottawa is in there. I think Sank Jose is in there. I think Florida has been around. I think Nashville’s been in and out; sometimes yes and sometimes no. I think those are the kind of teams that are showing the most interest. … I think Tarasenko is waiting to see what’s the best possible deal he can get? What’s the best possible fit he can get?”

Although he’s on the backend of his career, Tarasenko would likely fill one of two spots in Nashville’s top six created when the team traded Ryan Johansen and bought out Matt Duchene.

He’s just one season removed from a 34-goal, 82-point season, and he scored 18 goals and 50 points over 69 games between the St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers last season, which would have put him third on the Predators in scoring and tied him for third on the team in goals.

Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_

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