St. Louis Blues Vladimir Tarasenko Finally Has Elite Scorer’s Mentality

NASHVILLE, TN - MAY 7: Vladimir Tarasenko
NASHVILLE, TN - MAY 7: Vladimir Tarasenko /

St. Louis Blues fans have long wanted Vladimir Tarasenko to join the ranks of the elite scorers in the game. He’s long been on the cusp, but might be making that leap this year.

The St. Louis Blues hoped Vladimir Tarasenko would be a good player when they drafted him. He has already lived up to that and then some.

Fans of the Blues hoped he would be the next Brett Hull once they saw how he could score. Whether he lives up to those lofty goals might not be decided until his career is over.

One thing is for sure about Tarasenko though – he knows how to put the puck in the net. His next step might be right around the corner.

Fans want one of their favorite Blues to be among the elite in goal scorers. Some might say he’s already there.

Despite not reaching the 40 goal plateau he’d reached the year before, Tarasenko did end up tied for fourth in the NHL for goals. That gets overlooked because we are all obsessed with reaching certain numbers instead of paying attention to what the league is doing.

Nevertheless, Tarasenko does have another gear. Even if he’ll never reach the lofty goals we set for him, he can become more consistent.

He tends to score in bunches and then go cold. A goal every other game pace would benefit the team much more than five goals in three games and then none in four to six straight.

What gives us hope that consistency might be upon us is one simple mention of Tarasenko’s intentions this year.

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Normally NBC is good for nothing other than kissing Chicago or Pittsburgh’s rear end. Pierre McGuire is particularly good at all of that.

However, McGuire and Doc Emerick came up with a juicy nugget during the preseason game against Pittsburgh in Belle Vernon, PA. Vladimir Tarasenko expects to score 50 goals this season.

You can look at verbage and twist it different ways. Wants, expects, hopes to, etc. and so on. The bottom line is that is a legitimate goal for him and he vocalized it.

We have not definitive proof that he has not intended to score 50 other years. Me might have kept that to himself.

Stating it publicly is a big step toward becoming one of the league’s best scorers consistently. Tarasenko is basically telling the NHL that he intends to score and he does not think they will stop him. That is huge.

I’ve never had any problem with Tarasenko’s mentality in the past. He’s a team oriented, win-first type of guy.

We should all want that in our stars. If they are happy not scoring but getting a win, so be it.

We are selfish though. We want our team to win and our stars to get a goal or two at the same time. Domination is the name of the game for fans, whether realistic or not.

The thing is, it is not unrealistic for Tarasenko to do that. He has the talent to match guys like Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin. His unselfish nature has simply gotten in the way a bit.

While it is great to be unselfish, there have been plenty of times the Blues would have benefited from his shot as opposed to a pass. If he has now realized or, at least, been told that, we might be in for a special season.

Personally, I love that Tarasenko doesn’t care about stats if the team is winning. I want him to have that killer mentality and a belief that if he scores the team will win as well.

He seems to be at that point. 50 goals would be a gigantic step.

Next: Five Things We Must Know By The End Of Blues Preseason

The Blues have only had 3 players do it in their history. The NHL has not had one in two seasons and nobody other than Alex Ovechkin has done it since 2011-12.

I think he’ll do it. I won’t be crushed if it does not happen, but I think he will.

Having the mentality that he can is big enough for now. He’s becoming one of the elites.