May 22, 2012, 5:16 PM EDT
When it comes to Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong has made one thing clear — he wants the kid in the NHL.
“We’d like him to come over because we think he can push for a roster spot on our team,” Armstrong told Blues beat reporter Lou Korac. “We think he has the pedigree, he has the experience now.
“We think he should come to the NHL. I hope he does come to the NHL.”
Tarasenko, taken 16th overall at the 2010 draft, is something of an enigma. Despite an outstanding regular season and playoff in the KHL, he was left off the Russian team at the World Hockey Championships — a decision that, depending on who you talk to, was either a conditioning issue (according to head coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov) or a political one (Korac writes that Tarasenko was “putting on muscle to prepare for his next challenge, which is the NHL, and it didn’t sit too well with the national team.”)
Armstrong has no intention of bringing Tarasenko to North America and sticking him in AHL Peoria — if he does come over, he’ll be playing in the NHL. The Blues have an exciting young 25-and-under core (Patrick Berglund, TJ Oshie, David Perron, Chris Stewart, Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Pietrangelo) and want to add Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz, the No. 14 pick at the 2010 draft, to the mix.
That said, Armstrong is preparing for the possibility of Tarasenko not coming over.
“If he doesn’t, he’s still  years old,” Armstrong said. “He’s got a great career ahead of him. But we hope he comes. We’ll see if he does.”
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