The NHL Network recently ranked the top players at each position. One year after gracing the cover of NHL the video game, Vladimir Tarasenko ranked 4th at the wing position. An impressive honor for the five year pro. The Blues had two first round picks in the 2010 NHL draft. First taking Jaden Schwartz with the 14th pick and then Vladimir Tarasenko with the 16th pick. Tarasenko officially joined the club for 2012-13 season.
From the onset of his NHL career it was clear “Vlad” was a star, scoring goals on his first two shots in his league debut on January 13, 2013. A sign of St. Louis’ first superstar since Brett Hull. Goal scoring has never been an issue for the Russian sniper and the highlights have been plentiful since entering the league.
Most impressive about Vlad’s growth have been the things that most expected he would never fully commit to: checking, sacrificing his body, diving in front of pucks and even the occasional scrap with opponents, adding other elements to his game aside from finesse. While the physical aspect is not his bread and butter nor is it the reason people pay to see him play, it shows his commitment to all things hockey and will to win.
Tarasenko’s point total has increased by exactly one point finishing with 73, 74 and 75 points the last three seasons, as have his game-winning goals at 6, 7 and 8 over his last three campaigns. Vlad is a power play machine and considered one of the most dangerous men in the league with a view of the net.
Most impressive about the 4th place ranking are those below him. Tarasenko ranks above Jamie Benn, Phil Kessel, Patrik Laine, Joe Pavelski and most surprising future Hall of Famer Alexander Ovechkin. Former St. Louis Blue, T.J. Oshie ranked 19th and the number 1 overall pick of the 2010 draft Taylor Hall ranked 20th. (Full list below)
Tarasenko has quickly become a hometown favorite and is actively working his way toward legend status. It’s not every day a St. Louis Blue ranks 4th in anything. Vlad’s effortless wrist shot, uncanny ability to get open in the tightest of spots and the increased focus on physicality and defense continue to catch the eye of those in and outside of St. Louis.
1. Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
2. Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning
3. Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins
4. Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues
5. Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars
6. Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
7. Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks
8. Patrik Laine, Winnipeg Jets
9. Artemi Panarin, Columbus Blue Jackets
10. Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames
11. Blake Wheeler, Winnipeg Jets
12. Phil Kessel, Pittsburgh Penguins
13. Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens
14. Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators
15. David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins
16. Cam Atkinson, Columbus Blue Jackets
17. Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes
18. Wayne Simmonds, Philadelphia Flyers
19. T.J. Oshie, Washington Capitals
20. Taylor Hall, New Jersey Devils