Vladimir Tarasenko was the 16th overall pick by St. Louis in 2010. The Russian forward has been more hyped than Oshie, Perron, Berglund, and Pietrangelo, which is saying a lot. A couple years ago some fans thought he would be the player to save the slumping Blues. It was not until this summer that Tarasenko finally decided to leave the KHL for the NHL. The good news for Blues fans now is that the franchise is back on it’s feet and the addition of Tarasenko will make the Blues even better.
In 176 total games in the KHL, Tarasenko scored 48 goals and 52 assists for 100 points. His numbers for 2011/2011 were much better though. In 54 total games last season he had 23 goals and 24 assists. He also scored 10 goals in 15 playoffs games last year. He was also playing mostly on the fourth line, as the veterans were getting the major minutes. Add this to the fact that Alex Ovechkin never had more than 13 goals in a KHL season and Evgeni Malkin only had 21, the sky is the limit for Tarasenko. Some people have set the bar way too high on Tarasenko. He probably will not be the next Ovechkinor Malkin, although we won’t know until we see him play. He was, however, a premier player in the KHL (probably the second best league in the world) so he should definitely put up decent offensive numbers, even as a rookie.
Assuming he stays relatively healthy my prediction for him this year is 20 goals and about the same number of assists. However he may be truly great or he may be a bust. We must also wait and see if he loses stamina in the spring due to the longer season. While 20 goals was my best guess, anywhere from 15 to 30 won’t surprise me.