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Blues waiting on Russian rookie to decide if he wants to come over

May 15, 2012, 12:31 PM EDT

Vladimir Tarasenko Getty Images

Part of the fun when drafting a player from overseas is wondering when you’ll get to see him in person and have him compete for a job with the big club. That’s the position the St. Louis Blues are in with 2010 first-round pick Vladimir Tarasenko.

Blues GM Doug Armstrong tells Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the team is eager to have him come over and try out for a spot with the big club, but they’re not going to force him into making a decision.

“We’d like him to come over because we think he can push for a roster spot on our team,” Armstrong said. “We think that he has the pedigree. He’s got the experience now. We would not sign him to come over and play in our minor-league system. But all that being said, whenever training camp opens, he has to prove it not to me … he has to prove it to the guys that he’s sitting beside in the room that he’s ready to play.”

Getting him signed and committed is one issue but the other is the lack of certainty about whether or not the NHL and the players association will have a new Collective Bargaining Agreement ironed out.

With that kind of uncertainty, Tarasenko ditching out on his spot in the KHL wouldn’t make a lot of sense. That’s to say nothing of having to get into St. Louis and fight for a spot on a very competitive roster coached by Ken Hitchcock.

  1. sergeikremlin - May 15, 2012 at 4:45 PM

    One of the more complete young Russian prospects I’ve seen in recent years. He has the whole package and had a huge year of development in the KHL, breaking into top-10 and top-5 in scoring for the season and playoffs, respectively.

    Tarasenko is strong on his skates and has elite offensive skills. High ceiling player who looks like he can make the transition to playing a North American game.

    He, along with Kuznetsov, are NHL-ready, no question about it, imo.

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