Skip to content

Vladimir Tarasenko is St. Louis’ X-factor

Aug 21, 2013, 10:55 AM EDT

Vladimir Tarasenko AP

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.

What he did do, however, was show what he was all about right away scoring twice in his first game (including in highlight fashion) and piling up five points in his first two.

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Kings ink prospect Sharipzyanov to entry-level contract

    Aug 27, 2015, 10:00 PM EDT

    Damir Sharipzyanov Getty Images

    The defenseman had 34 points in 66 OHL games last season.

  2. Sabres interested in luring Franson

    Aug 27, 2015, 8:58 PM EDT

    Cody Franson Getty Images

    He might end up with a two-year deal.

  3. Ladd wants to re-sign before season starts

    Aug 27, 2015, 8:21 PM EDT

    Andrew Ladd Getty Images

    He’s entering the final season of his five-year, $22 million deal.

  4. AHL unveils schedule with California teams playing fewer games

    Aug 27, 2015, 6:48 PM EDT

    061315 comets mdd AP

    Playoff seeding will be determined by points percentage.

  5. Under pressure: Mike Johnston

    Aug 27, 2015, 4:25 PM EDT

    Mike Johnston Getty Images

    The Penguins are a win now team coming off of a quick first round exit.

  6. Pittsburgh’s biggest question: Is the defense good enough?

    Aug 27, 2015, 2:06 PM EDT

    St. Louis Blues v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

    “I’m fully aware that at some point in time we may have to address that position.”

  7. Marty favor? Blues bringing Gomez to camp on PTO

    Aug 27, 2015, 12:17 PM EDT

    New Jersey Devils v Philadelphia Flyers Getty Images

    The two have a bit of a history, as you may recall…

  8. Poll: Will Kessel score 40?

    Aug 27, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    The Toronto Maple hold their post season media availibility and team President Brendan Shanahan holds a press conference to answer questions Getty Images

    It’s a benchmark he’s never hit before.

  9. Looking to make the leap: Derrick Pouliot

    Aug 27, 2015, 10:52 AM EDT

    Philadelphia Flyers v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

    The 21-year-old looks like he’ll be counted upon heavily.

  10. Mike Richards charged with possession of controlled substance

    Aug 27, 2015, 9:48 AM EDT

    Los Angeles Kings v New York Rangers Getty Images

    For a border incident that occurred in mid-June.

  11. It’s Pittsburgh Penguins Day at PHT

    Aug 27, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    Sidney Crosby AP

    A first round exit has led to a busy summer.

  12. Devils’ continue summer of change with more personnel moves

    Aug 26, 2015, 9:32 PM EDT

    Patrick Rissmiller Getty Images

    Development coach Patrick Rissmiller is among New Jersey’s latest additions.

  13. Erik Karlsson has an interesting take on (not) training

    Aug 26, 2015, 8:08 PM EDT

    Erik Karlsson AP

    His conditioning comes on the ice, not in the weight room.

  14. Sabres reach their season tickets cap with 96 percent renewal rate

    Aug 26, 2015, 6:40 PM EDT

    Jack Eichel Getty Images

    Two terrible seasons didn’t dissuade fans expecting brighter days ahead.

  15. Philadelphia Flyers ’15-16 Outlook

    Aug 26, 2015, 5:11 PM EDT

    Ottawa Senators v Philadelphia Flyers Getty Images

    Philadelphia has a great core, but does it have the depth?

  16. Poll: Are the Flyers better off losing (a lot)?

    Aug 26, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    Dave Hakstol AP

    Tanking isn’t likely, yet may it be wise?

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1407)
  2. P. Kane (1282)
  3. S. Matthias (1163)
  4. M. Zuccarello (1093)
  5. D. Carcillo (1085)