USATSI_8545361_154158418_lowresThe St. Louis Blues have signed winger Vladimir Tarasenko to an eight year contract worth $60 million, the club announced Tuesday.

This is the richest contract in franchise history, worth an average annual value of $7.5 million.

“I think it’s a great day in Blues history to get a player of Vladi’s calibre locked into the organization through the prime of his career,” general manager Doug Armstrong said. “We saw, I think, just the tip of the iceberg of what Vladi can do in this league last year.”

Eight years is the maximum term allowed under the CBA, which clearly illustrates the faith St. Louis has in their man.

Tarasenko had 73 points in 77 games last season, including 37 goals, and posted a plus-27 rating. He’s the youngest player to score at least 30 goals in a season for the Blues since the days of Brendan Shanahan way back in 1991-1992.

Tarasenko was selected by St. Louis 16th overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and has 135 points in 179 career games thus far. In 13 playoff games, he has 10 goals and 11 points.

Some are saying that the contract value was driven up by the possibility of Tarasenko heading to the Kontinental Hockey League, although the same sources are saying that Tarasenko never played the “KHL card” so one wonders how much of a role the Russian league played in driving up the value and term of the deal.

Of course, the shine is kind of off the KHL apple a little bit and the league is no longer the big threat it once was. With players like Alexander Radulov eyeing NHL returns and at least three former KHLers inking free agency deals as of late (Victor Tikhonov to Chicago, Sergei Plotnikov to Pittsburgh, Alexander Burmistrov to Winnipeg), the NHL may be reasserting itself as the place to be in order to make the big bucks.

And back in 2012, Tarasenko was clear when he selected St. Louis over and KHL opportunities.

But still, the “other league” did play to Armstrong’s sensibilities a little.

“My fear was coming from the other side of the pond more than it was from the guys on the 29 other NHL teams,” said the general manager. “The KHL was never brought up, but I didn’t have to..my ‘Spidey’ senses told me that it was really there. I wanted to try and get this done as quick as possible, and I was open to the agent [Mike Liut] about that.”

What’s done is done now, unsubstantiated KHL fears or not, and Tarasenko is locked in. The Blues clearly wanted term and they got it, while their forward will be more than happy with the cash. Everybody wins. Probably.

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