2. Vladimir Tarasenko
Let’s be honest, you knew Vlady was going to be on here. He is the team’s best offensive threat and, though he went missing for long stretches in 2018-19, he showed he is still their best offensive player.
The frustrating thing about Tarasenko is how he continually teases us. We see him string together the goals and the points in so many games, but he can’t keep it up throughout a season.
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Tarasenko, like the entire team, was absent to start the year. Outside of one two goal performance, he did not score in seven of the team’s first eight games.
Tarasenko was equally horrid in November. He went 10 straight games without a goal. There were points in those games, but you need your goal scorers to score.
It was once the team settled on a top-six and more a top-three that Tarasenko finally took off. Once January hit, he was scoring more regularly and in bunches.
More important, Tarasenko was scoring at key times. If the team fell behind, he would tie the game. If the game was tied, he managed to find the go-ahead goal.
In years past, we saw Tarasenko chip in with plenty of scores, but some of them were in garbage time when the game was not on the line. In 2018-19, there were plenty of games on the line and he found ways to score in the bigger moments.
Tarasenko might always be a frustrating player. We see and know he has the talent to get 40-50 goals and yet we have to settle for the 30’s.
Still, only two players in the NHL have more goals than he does over the last five seasons. We might always want more, but he gives a lot. From how he started, scoring scoring 33 goals and being second on the team in points is pretty impressive.