Tossing Tarasenko a Senators Draft Day Nightmare

Before he was even drafted into the NHL, Vladimir Tarasenko was part of one of the worst trades in Ottawa Senators history. On draft day in 2010, the Senators were sitting with the 16th overall pick after finishing fifth in the Eastern Conference with a 44-32-6 record.

The Senators went on to lose their first-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games, which brings us right back to the draft table on June 25, 2010. There, the Sens’ late general manager Bryan Murray made the decision to trade the team’s first-round pick for defenceman David Rundblad.

Going to Ottawa Going to St. Louis
D David Rundblad 2010 1st-round pick
(#16 – Vladimir Tarasenko)

Looking back, it was one of the worst decisions for the organization.

Rundblad: Sweden’s Senator

The year prior to the trade that sent him to Ottawa, Rundblad played for Skelleftea AIK of the Swedish Elite League. He had a goal and 13 points in 47 games and was a plus-four over that time.

Following the move, he played on more season in the SEL and tallied 11 goals and 50 points in 55 games. These numbers made him seem like he was worth the first-round pick that the Senators sent to the St. Louis Blues and would’ve had Sens fans interested in what they had in Rundblad.

David Rundblad, Chicago Blackhawks
David Rundblad was moved from St. Louis to Ottawa and ended up in Chicago. (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

The following season, he finally debuted in the NHL with the Senators. He played just 24 games scoring one goal and adding three assists. He had a minus-11 rating as the Sens missed the playoffs. That was the extent of his career in Ottawa.

From there, the team packaged him with a 2012 second-round pick and shipped him off to Arizona. In exchange, the Sens acquired Kyle Turris who became an important player for the franchise.

Going to Arizona Going to Ottawa
D David Rundblad C Kyle Turris
 2012 2nd-round pick
(#45 – Anthony Stolarz)
*Traded to CLB then PHI*

Turris went on to play 407 games for the Senators, scoring 117 goals and 274 points. He was later moved as part of a three-team deal that saw Ottawa acquire forward Matt Duchene.

Going to Ottawa Going to Nashville Going to Colorado
C Matt Duchene C Kyle Turris C Shane Bowers (from OTT)
G Andrew Hammond (from OTT)
2018 1st-round pick
(from OTT – top 10 protected)
2019 3rd-round pick (from OTT)
D Samuel Girard (from NSH)
LW Vladislav Kamenev (from NSH)
2018 2nd-round pick (from NSH

Still, even with the extension of what Rundblad helped the team acquire, the Senators’ decision to move the 16th pick in the 2010 draft proved to be a disappointing one with what the Blues were able to bring into their organization.

The Blues and the Tarasenk-show

The Blues went on to draft Vladimir Tarasenko with the 16th overall pick in the 2010 draft – one year after they drafted Rundblad 17th overall. So, nothing was guaranteed when they grabbed Tarasenko.

After he was drafted by the Blues, Tarasenko played parts of two more seasons in the KHL. In 2011-12 he tallied 23 goals and 47 points in 54 games between Novosibirsk Sibir and St. Petersburg SKA. The following season he scored 14 goals and 32 points before joining the Blues midway through the season.

Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues
Tarasenko has become a legitimate threat for the St. Louis Blues. (Photo: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)

Since then, he’s been a catalyst for the Blues’ offence. He’s notched 335 points in 400 games and 88 points on their power play.  On top of that, he has the fourth most points of any player drafted in 2010 – behind Tyler Seguin, Taylor Hall and Jeff Skinner.

It’s safe to say the Blues made the right call back in June 2010.

Senators Signing the Blues

As mentioned, it’s hard not to see the obvious winner in this trade. While Rundblad hasn’t played a game in the NHL since 2015-16 with the Chicago Blackhawks. In all, he’s played just 113 regular season games, compared to Tarasenko’s 400.

His 25 points don’t come close to the 335 that St. Louis has received from the hands of their Russian sniper. And even if, by extension, Rundblad helped the team acquire Turris and then Duchene, his value to the Senators doesn’t nearly mimic what Tarasenko has meant to the Blues.

Related: Cam Talbot Trade Revisited

After all, since he joined the club, the Blues haven’t missed the playoffs once. While the Senators have seen the postseason just four times since the trade in 2010.

They say hindsight is 20-20. But something tells me that there is some regret within the Senators organization for having made this draft-day deal.