The St. Louis Blues are noted as one of the more physical and gritty teams in the NHL. When you think of them, you tend not to think of a high level of skill. You think of a high level of brawn. Vladimir Tarasenko could change that thinking.
Tarasenko was originally drafted by the Blues in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, but had been playing over in Russia until he announced last summer that he was planning to join St. Louis in the upcoming season, though his debut was obviously pushed back due to the NHL lockout.
We’re just two games into the season, but Tarasenko is really looking like the real deal for the Blues. He’s a rookie, and a favorite by many to win the Calder Trophy, but has looked like anything but a rookie with his play in the Blues’ first two wins of the young season.
The 21-year-old came over to the Blues after posting a point per game in the KHL during the lockout. Through the first pair of games in his NHL career, he already has five points, including two goals in his first career game against the defensively starved Detroit Red Wings.
In his second game, against the Nashville Predators, Tarasenko went on to add another three points, including another goal. He put a wicked wrist shot past Pekka Rinne for his third career goal. His penchant for goal-scoring is what made him so attractive to the Blues when they drafted him in 2010. And he’s backing them up.
Tarasenko has all of the tools to be a very successful scorer in this league. He’s very quick and has solid playmaking skills. But his biggest asset is obviously his shot, which is simply fantastic. Playing in St. Louis, he may not get the pub that other Russian stars do, but he has the potential to be an elite scorer for this team.
The Blues already look better on offense this season with Tarasenko in the fold. He’s logged some quality minutes, right up there with the bigger names on this club, and has also seen time on the power play, where he already has a goal. It hasn’t taken long for Vladimir Tarasenko to show that he’s the real deal in the NHL.