Aug 21, 2013, 10:55 AM EST
When Vladimir Tarasenko arrived on the scene last year from Russia, he came in with a lot of mystery.
A lot of familiar questions were raised: Would he adapt well to the North American game? Would he struggle with in a defensive system like the Blues have? Go ahead and insert any tired cliché about Russians.
It wasn’t all fun and games, however. His production slowed down and then he suffered a concussion in mid-February that kept him out of action for a month. After that, his production slowed even more and his minutes were cut down. As it was, Tarasenko played in just one game in the playoffs.
As Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes, Ken Hitchcock thinks he could be in for a big season because he’ll be more comfortable this time around.
“He’s not going to be surprised by anything, he’s going to be way more ready, so I think our hope is that you see a player more comfortable, more composed, more assured of himself and I think this year we’ll get a really good evaluation. In talking to him, he’s about as far away as you can get from sophomore jinx. He’s hungry, he’s focused. Now you get to see his natural ability on a daily basis.”
The Blues will need him to be all that and then some. Hitchcock notes they were comfortable dealing David Perron because they wanted to make room, and get more minutes, for Tarasenko.
The team is doing what it can to help him break out and if he can do it, he can give them something they’ve lacked over the years: A bonafide gamebreaking scorer. If he can’t take that step, however, the Blues will have to hope their grinding style can lead them to the promised land.
- Martin Brodeur to retire, become Blues asst. GM (Updated) 32
- Mike Richards clears waivers 31
- Game on: Islanders-Rangers to be played despite storm 14
- Flyers’ Rinaldo suspended eight games for his hit on Letang 54
- Isles’ rise to be tested as they lose Okposo for 6-8 weeks 16
- L.A. Sorry? Kings waive Mike Richards 123
- Bobrovsky out 4-6 weeks, Jackets recall goalie Forsberg 3
- Blue Jackets proud as Columbus shows it’s a hockey town 24
- From contract dispute to All-Star MVP, Johansen’s had quite the year 17
- Marc-Andre Fleury would like to remind the Columbus crowd that the Penguins beat the Blue Jackets in the playoffs 33
- Columnist: Flyers ‘orchestrated’ fight night versus Pens during meal at ‘a local steakhouse’ (130)
- L.A. Sorry? Kings waive Mike Richards (123)
- Flyers’ Rinaldo: ‘I changed the whole game, man’ (112)
- Video: Rinaldo tossed for boarding Letang (79)
- Report: Flyers’ Rinaldo waives right to an in-person hearing (61)