We’ve already taken a look at the rookie seasons Jake Allen and Jaden Schwartz were able to put together for the St. Louis Blues. Now, we turn attention to highly-touted Russian Vladimir Tarasenko, who got off to a great start with the Blues before fading away for the second half of the season and becoming a healthy scratch for most of the playoffs.
Tarasenko, like Schwartz, was a first round pick in 2010. He came to the Blues this season with no experience playing in North America, but seemed to quickly adjust to the smaller playing surface. The Blues won six of their first seven games, and Tarasenko flashed a great deal of offensive promise. He scored five goals and had nine points after those seven games, including a two-goal effort on opening night. Hailed as a frontrunner for the Calder Trophy by the end of January, things quickly went south for Tarasenko.
He would finish the season with eight goals and 19 points in 38 games, which provides a lot of insight into how little he was able to score in the last three months of the season. Given head coach Ken Hitchcock‘s well-known lack of trust for Russian players, this wasn’t good news. When the playoffs rolled around, Tarasenko was a healthy scratch and wound up playing just under six minutes in one appearance. It’s pretty clear he has work to do in the offseason if he hopes to have a top-six spot on this team next season, and while he would earn an “A” for his January effort, his full-season performance was at best a “C.”