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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.”

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 ANA 66 42 17 7 196 179 91
2 NSH 65 41 17 7 193 158 89
3 STL 63 40 18 5 197 159 85
4 CHI 64 38 21 5 188 152 81
5 WPG 65 32 21 12 180 175 76
6 VAN 63 36 24 3 182 173 75
7 MIN 63 34 22 7 179 163 75
8 CGY 63 34 25 4 178 162 72
9 LAK 63 30 21 12 171 164 72
10 SJS 65 32 25 8 185 183 72
11 COL 64 28 25 11 170 183 67
12 DAL 64 28 26 10 199 212 66
13 ARI 64 20 37 7 139 218 47
14 EDM 64 18 36 10 145 213 46

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
V. Tarasenko 63 31 30 27 61
A. Steen 61 19 32 6 51
J. Schwartz 56 20 27 13 47
T. Oshie 55 17 27 11 44
D. Backes 62 21 22 4 43
K. Shattenkirk 49 8 32 18 40
P. Stastny 55 12 25 11 37
J. Lehtera 56 9 24 13 33
A. Pietrangelo 63 6 27 -2 33
P. Berglund 59 8 12 -2 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
B. Elliott 20 9 2 .921 2.20
J. Allen 17 6 3 .903 2.55

 
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