Ever since opening game of the 12/13 season, Vladimir Tarasenko has been a marked man. He has taken hit after hit due to the great amount of potential he has shown as of his first game. His opening game against the Detroit Red Wings, made quite the impression. Scoring 2 goals in his first 2 shots in his first game and being the highlight of all goal scorers on the NHL Network. He has proved that he has an amazing amount of potential, and I hope to see him wearing a Blues uniform for years to come.
However, taking hit after hit has taken its toll on the young star. At 6’0″ 219 pounds he has decent size, but it’s still not enough when every player is out to own him. Injuries have compromised a good chunk of his season this year despite all the fan’s high hopes of perhaps finding the next Brett Hull. He has endured unplayable concussions playing in Russia, and it has continued now in the NHL. After recovering from the concussion he suffered after the hit from Mark Olver, of the Colorado Avalanche, he was not quite the same for the remainder of the season. Not to mention sitting out for the majority of the playoffs due simply because of exhaustion, it was clear that it would take a season or two to witness the full potential of this rising star.
After taking this blind-sided hit, it should have been an obvious realization that some changes are due to protect his bright future. After seeing forward Andy Mcdonald retire, for fear of his health, it’s quite clear that Tarasenko’s injuries can lead to a career ending brick wall.
Ken Hitchcock must realize he can’t just cross his fingers and hope he doesn’t get hit. He is in the crosshairs of every goon, tough guy, and grinder in the NHL due to his age and talent. They want to see what the young kid is made of, his injuries however, can be prevented.
I think it’s time that a line change was made to the lineup. Not a demotion or a promotion when they transfer them from line to line, but what is best for the team. If you put Tarasenko on the same line as some heavy hitters, it could save him from injury. Make a few modifications to the CRP line (Cracknell, Porter, Reaves) and he would be fine. Despite never getting a player to admit it, but they are afraid of Ryan Reaves. If they were faced with a choice of hitting Tarasenko and having to drop the gloves with Reaves, they would certainly think twice.
Throwing him in to the mix, and perhaps making the CTR line, could be deadly. Hitch depends a lot on the fourth line and they get plenty of ice time. With the fourth line combined averaging a +4 in the regular season, it is quite evident that they can hold their own. Putting Tarasenko in to the mix could lead to more scoring opportunities for him. Not nessisarly moving tarasenko down to forth line but, maybe moving Reaves up to Tarasenko’s line with him.
With the newly acquired Blue, Magnus Paajarvi, he can bring the size that the blues require. If Tarasenko is on the same line as Paajarvi, Reaves, Cracknell, or even Chris Stewart, it will be a game changer. Nobody in Saint Louis wants to see Tarasenko have a short career due to injuries. Hitch has taken some precautions having Tarasenko do offseason conditioning while we await the next season. If you agree with me or not it is still clear that something needs to be done about Tarasenko and a line change is due. What do you guys think?