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Blues GM Armstrong wants Russian prospect Tarasenko in St. Louis

May 22, 2012, 5:16 PM EDT

Vladimir Tarasenko

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 [20] years old,” Armstrong said. “He’s got a great career ahead of him. But we hope he comes. We’ll see if he does.”

  1. sergeikremlin - May 22, 2012 at 8:52 PM

    Tarasenko had more goals and points than any other KHL-based player who made the eventual WHC gold medal team, and he is a strong kid who can play in all areas of the ice, so there is an underlying concern for why he was left off the squad.

    Perhaps Tarasenko will head to the NHL in spite of his homeland efforts being overlooked, perhaps he would make the jump regardless of making that team, or perhaps there just wasn’t any room for another young’n on such a stacked squad, with the Russian brass electing to go with the more flashy superstar, Kuznetsov, as their sole injection of youth.

    Either way, Armstrong is hoping Tarasenko comes over, because his skill and strength will fit right in with this growing crop of young talent who made a big step this past season, and because you just want that Russian asset who you gambled your first rounder on to pan out in North America, ASAP.

    I for one hope to see him in the Central Division instead of the Bobrov Division when he laces them up next season.

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