There are very few players in the NHL that can bring you to your seat whether you’re in the arena or sitting in the comfort of your own home. They are the type of player you wait for to get out on the ice, the type of player that makes the crowd start to buzz, and the type of player that you hear the commentator’s voice elevate to another level as soon as he touches the puck.
In St. Louis, that player is Vladimir Tarasenko and he has the ability to make you stand, yell, and ask yourself ‘was that even real life?’ all in the same play.
Sportsnet’s breakout player of the year creates highlight reel plays on any given night that you couldn’t pull off in a game of NHL15. If you haven’t seen one of his disgusting dangles here is his ‘goal of the year’ bid:
Coming off a lower body injury on March 30th that saw him miss five games he was inserted into the Notes’ lineup for the season finale against the Minnesota Wild on a line with Alex Steen and Jori Lehtera. They combined for seven points and dominated the play when they were on the ice together. Tarasenko finished with two points to end his season proving he hadn’t missed a step in his absence. With that head coach Ken Hitchcock has most likely found himself his number one line heading into the playoffs.
Tarasenko and Steen look crazy good together. This just might stick come next week. #stlblues
— Lou Korac (@lkorac10) April 11, 2015
Tarasenko’s Season Speaks for Itself
His sophomore campaign saw him amass 37 goals, 36 assists for 73 points in 77 games which is the highest point total since the late Pavol Demitra in the 2002-03 season with 92. He is the second player in the Blues history with 35 or more goals and 35 or more assists and +25 or better since Red Berenson 1968-69 to give you an idea of how rare a season like this is in St. Louis.
Tarasenko is one of the most dangerous scorers in the entire league because he can burn teams in so many ways. He can beat you with his slick mitts and shiftiness or his deceptive patented wrist shot that finds its way top corner or along the ice. He can find open ice like former Blue Brett Hull and is always in the right place positionally for a pass. He is incredibly unpredictable when he comes down on opposing goaltenders who usually find themselves on the other end of the highlight of the night.
In addition, he shoots so often that he generates a lot of opportunities for his line mates off of his rebounds. He also has the ability to create space for them as well because defenders respect the talent of Tarasenko coming into the zone.
After this season he has established himself as a legitimate superstar in this league on the best team in the Western Conference.
Tarasenko finished top 30 in the league in six categories including: fifth in goals, 10th in points, 15th overall in game-winning goals with six, 30th in power play goals with eight, 11th in shots on goal with 264, and most impressive seventh in plus/minus with +27.
There isn’t much he can’t do and with the playoffs just around the corner Minnesota better watch out or they will see number 91 all over the score sheet.
If you’re planning on watching the Blues’ in the first round keep a close eye on Tarasenko because he will put on a show that you won’t forget.