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Berube expects Tarasenko to start season with Blues

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Craig Berube is operating under the assumption that disgruntled forward Vladimir Tarasenko will be in the St. Louis Blues' lineup on opening night.

"I expect Vladdy to play for us," the Blues head coach said Tuesday on the "Cam and Strick Podcast." "I'm going to treat him like every other player. Yeah, he asked to be traded, and things happened, but again, we want Vladdy to play good hockey for us."

Berube indicated that nothing would change in terms of Tarasenko's fit with the club.

"He's going to have a role on the team like he always has," the bench boss said. "We'll deal with it internally and we'll go from there."

Tarasenko requested a trade early in the offseason and reportedly didn't trust the club because he was upset with how it dealt with two of his three shoulder surgeries.

St. Louis then exposed him in the expansion draft. One day before the proceedings, Tarasenko's surgeon said the winger's shoulder was "100% ready" for the upcoming season. The Seattle Kraken ultimately picked Vince Dunn from the Blues.

Tarasenko was limited to 34 games over the last two campaigns due to his shoulder woes. He's a five-time 30-goal scorer who netted a career-high 40 with St. Louis in 2015-16.

The Russian helped the Blues win the Stanley Cup in 2019, posting 11 markers and six helpers in 26 playoff games that spring. Tarasenko ranks fifth on the franchise's all-time goals list with 218 in 531 contests, and he's spent his entire nine-year career with St. Louis.

The 29-year-old is under contract through 2022-23 at a $7.5-million cap hit, according to CapFriendly.

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