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Tarasenko Arrives in St. Louis

Vladimir Tarasenko will be introduced to the St. Louis media on Thursday

Monday, 09.03.2012 / 10:50 AM / St Louis Blues - Features
By Chris Pinkert  - St. Louis Blues
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Tarasenko Arrives in St. Louis
Vladimir Tarasenko, a first-round pick of the Blues in 2010, has left Russia\'s KHL and is here in St. Louis, ready to debut in the NHL.


The wait is over.

Vladimir Tarasenko has arrived.

The 20-year-old Russian forward landed at Lambert Airport in St. Louis at approximately 4:30 p.m. last Friday, and his arrival puts an end to more than two years of anticipation.

It was way back in June 2010 when Blues fans first learned his name. Back then, he was an 18-year-old prospect the Blues selected with a first-round pick (16th overall) at the NHL Draft in Los Angeles. According to NHL Central Scouting, Tarasenko was the second-ranked European skater, and some experts predicted he’d be a Top-5 pick. It didn’t end up that way, though. The lure of big-time earning potential in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League has scared many-o'-NHL scouts away drafting Russian prospects as of late.

But the Blues knew of Tarasenko’s great potential. After already selecting Jaden Schwartz with their first-round pick (14th overall) that summer, GM Doug Armstrong made a swift trade, sending defenseman David Rundblad (the Blues' first-round pick a year earlier) to Ottawa for the opportunity to select the talented right-winger.

And now, three months after agreeing to an entry-level deal with the Blues in June, Tarasenko’s wheels have landed on American soil and Armstrong’s gamble is about to pay off.

They say good things are worth the wait. In Tarasenko's case, that's probably especially true. You see, before he agreed to come to St. Louis, the 6-foot, 215-pound forward was playing in Russia’s top professional league. Despite his youth, he posted 52 goals and 48 assists (100 points) in 176 KHL games. He’s big, he’s physical and he’s got quite an offensive touch, meaning the Blues can certainly expect him to be a major player in their offense as soon as this season.

“The type of player that we’re hoping to get, he’s just a very strong, very determined player,” Armstrong told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch recently. “He was the captain of (Russia’s 2011 gold medal) world junior championship team, so he’s got character…he’s got a 200-foot game, he can score goals, he’s got a vibrant personality, too.

“So I think our fans are going to see someone that can play the right side, something that we’re going to give a great opportunity to play with on our team. We’re excited to have a player of his caliber come to our team at this age.”

Armstrong did say the club has tempered their expectations.

“It’s a very difficult league, the NHL, and he’ll have to find his way,” Armstrong told the Post-Dispatch. “I don’t want the fan base to put pressure on this player to come in and get 50 goals next year. I think it’s unrealistic, but we truly believe we have an excellent young player that’s going to be dynamic player in our league in the future.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 ANA 50 32 12 6 147 134 70
2 NSH 48 31 11 6 145 115 68
3 STL 48 31 13 4 156 117 66
4 CHI 49 31 16 2 155 113 64
5 WPG 50 26 16 8 140 127 60
6 SJS 49 26 17 6 137 135 58
7 VAN 47 27 17 3 129 120 57
8 CGY 49 26 20 3 140 127 55
9 LAK 48 21 15 12 133 129 54
10 COL 50 21 18 11 131 141 53
11 DAL 48 22 19 7 152 157 51
12 MIN 48 22 20 6 131 138 50
13 ARI 48 17 25 6 111 161 40
14 EDM 49 13 27 9 113 162 35

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
V. Tarasenko 48 24 24 21 48
A. Steen 46 15 25 7 40
K. Shattenkirk 48 8 32 18 40
J. Schwartz 41 17 21 13 38
D. Backes 47 17 18 6 35
T. Oshie 40 14 16 12 30
J. Lehtera 46 9 21 15 30
A. Pietrangelo 48 4 24 0 28
P. Stastny 40 9 17 6 26
P. Berglund 46 6 10 0 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
B. Elliott 14 5 2 .927 1.95
J. Allen 14 5 2 .902 2.61

 
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