Tarasenko Arrives in St. Louis

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

Monday, 09.3.2012 / 9:50 AM CT / 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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WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - ANA 78 49 22 7 227 216 105
2 x - NSH 77 47 22 8 220 188 102
3 STL 76 46 23 7 229 190 99
4 CHI 76 46 24 6 217 176 98
5 MIN 76 44 25 7 219 186 95
6 VAN 76 44 27 5 219 204 93
7 CGY 77 42 28 7 229 204 91
8 WPG 76 39 25 12 215 201 90
9 LAK 76 37 25 14 201 192 88
10 DAL 77 37 30 10 239 248 84
11 SJS 76 37 30 9 212 215 83
12 COL 76 35 29 12 206 213 82
13 EDM 76 23 40 13 185 255 59
14 ARI 77 23 46 8 161 256 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
V. Tarasenko 76 36 35 25 71
A. Steen 73 24 38 6 62
J. Schwartz 69 24 32 12 56
D. Backes 75 25 29 6 54
T. Oshie 67 19 33 13 52
P. Stastny 68 14 29 3 43
A. Pietrangelo 76 6 36 -6 42
J. Lehtera 69 11 29 16 40
K. Shattenkirk 51 8 32 15 40
P. Berglund 71 9 13 -7 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
B. Elliott 24 14 3 .919 2.20
J. Allen 19 6 4 .906 2.45

 
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