Like Jaden Schwartz, Blues fans have a hard time distinguishing Vladimir Tarasenko’s actual accomplishments from what we think he can do. Hype is a powerful thing.
Coming into the league and showing some goal-scoring prowess off the bat, the comparisons were immediately made to Brett Hull. There is little doubt that Tarasenko is the team’s first, true sniper since Hull, but it was never fair to make the comparison. They are two different players with two different styles and personalities.
Even without the comparison, we continually want more from Tarasenko. Somehow, collectively, we all just sense he can be a 50 goal scorer if he would just be a little more selfish at times or a little more assertive.
However, despite some detractors saying he has not lived up to expectations, you will not find a more consistent scorer outside of Alex Ovechkin. Tarasenko is rarely at the top of the league in scoring, but most guys have a great year and then fall off the next.
Vlady just gets it done. It took a season-ending injury to prevent Tarasenko from getting 30-plus goals for the sixth consecutive year.
Just think about that. Of all the prolific scorers in the NHL, nobody other than Ovechkin was showing that kind of goal-scoring consistency.
Unlike some big time goal scorers, Tarasenko picks up a lot of assists too. Often times, you’ll see a guy with 30 or 40 goals and something in the realm of 20-plus assists.
Tarasenko had 30-plus assists ever season he had 30-plus goals. He’s remarkable at generating offense, even if we’d like more numbers in the G column.
Tarasenko’s only drawback has been his personality and that’s not a knock on him. In North America, we’ve grown accustomed to our superstars having a certain attitude about them. Tarasenko doesn’t really have that, at least not openly.
He would honestly rather win 82 games and pick up 82 assists rather than score 82 goals and win 40 games.
Still, even after eight seasons, we focus too much on what we want from him instead of what he is. Would we all like to see him be a 50 goal scorer? There is no doubt.
The NHL is just different now, though. Yes, there are still 50 goal scorers and guys that reach 100 points, but it’s not as prevalent as it used to be.
Having a guy that will consistently score 30-plus goals and have 60-70 points is invaluable.
We should not take that for granted. If we do, Tarasenko might be one of those guys we look back on later and realize how great he actually was. Instead, enjoy one of the best scorers of the last decade right now, while he’s here.