Originally written on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 10/22/14

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 25: Vladimir Tarasenko, drafted 16th overall by the St. Louis Blues, poses for a portrait during the 2010 NHL Entry Draft at Staples Center on June 25, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS If Vladimir Tarasenko can live up to even half the hype that surrounds him heading into the start of training camp Sunday, the Blues should be in pretty good shape. The highly regarded prospect made his much-anticipated debut Friday, taking the ice at the St. Louis Mills to a standing room only crowd that featured many already wearing his No. 91 jersey. The 21-year-old Tarasenko arrived in St. Louis Thursday night and took to the ice the next morning for the Blues final informal skate before training camp officially kicks off Sunday morning at Scottrade Center. You can see he plays at a pretty high level, said Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. He thinks quick. If you watch him, the skill he has is pretty amazing to watch. Hes got first line skill. He had a pretty good season over there and we know what hes capable of, seeing him out there for the first time today, you can see what he brings to the table. Its going to be fun to watch. The Blues selected Tarasenko with the 16th overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft but he remained in Russia to play in the KHL. He had 23 goals and 30 assists in 54 games in 2011-2012 before deciding to join this Blues this past summer. But after just a few weeks in St. Louis the NHL lockout started and Tarasenko decided to return to Russia to play until it ended. He played 31 games for St. Petersburg SKA and had 14 goals and 17 assists in just 31 games before leaving for St. Louis earlier this week. Im really excited to be here, Tarasenko said. I was here in the summer for three weeks and I know the city, the restaurants and shops. That makes it easier. Asked about the differences between the KHL and the NHL, the Russian sensation said, I think the first one is the rink. This one is smaller. The second one is the mental part. This is very difficult for me. Blues coach Ken Hitchcock has seen Tarasekno play 20-to-25 games on tape. He plans to play him on a line with Andy McDonald and Alex Steen. The puck is on the net and it comes fast, its on his stick and its gone, Hitchcock said. He can put pucks through people. Hes a good offensive player so the rest of the game, were going to teach him. Thats going to take long term but if he can do the things offensively that we think hes capable of, hes going to contribute to our hockey club and help us a lot. Tarasenko arrives as one of the most highly regarded and hyped forwards that the Blues have had in several years. He watched several Blues games on television last season from Russia to get a feel for his future teammates and how they play. And his teammates were easily impressed. I know its still early but he has a lot of speed, good awareness on the ice, pretty solid shot and he moves the puck well, McDonald said. Its exciting. Hes a pretty complete player. His hockey sense, the ability to read the play, where your teammates are, where the defenders are - players like that are easy to play with and hopefully they dont require any transition time. They are able to read off you right away and it makes the game easier. Tarasenko previously played for around 12,500 fans per game in Russia. Hell likely play for 19,150 on most nights at Scottrade Center. All of them will be watching his every move.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Former NFL QB still feels effects of concussions every day

Robert Klemko given four-week suspension from The MMQB

Michael Vick: Percy Harvin won't be a monster here

Robert Griffin III 'guaranteed' to be back in Week 11

Urlacher: Cutler paid like elite QB, hasn’t produced like one

Hoyer doesn’t think about getting benched for Manziel

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Cardinals kicker blew $1,500 signing bonus on headphones

Ainge: Draft lottery reform would be 'better for the game'

Royals take Game 2 to even series with Giants

Report: Roger Goodell will have to testify in Ray Rice case

Blake Griffin accused of slapping man in Las Vegas club

Ronda Rousey to face Cat Zingano at UFC 182

One Direction promotes tour by acting like bandwagon NFL fans

Jimmy Howard unveils pink mask for 'Hockey Fights Cancer'

Louisville Athletic Dept. asking for donations at gas pump

Falcons make huge mistake with London infographic

DeMarco Murry surprises Cowboys linemen with iMacs

Jimbo Fisher's son reps for Winston on 'Superhero Day'

WATCH: Steve Ballmer freaks out while shown on Jumbotron

AUDIO: Rex Ryan pranks Sammy Watkins on conference call

Top storyline for each Week 8 NFL game

WATCH: Giants pitcher yells at Salvador Perez after HR

Will Muschamp's head coaching job posted on Craigslist

Miss California USA would like to date Eric Hosmer

Blues News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Brian Urlacher rips Jay Cutler

Top NFL storylines: Week 8

Kiffin's mom worried for son's safety

Report: Goodell will have to testify

Penguins do 'O Canada' following tragedy

UEFA Champions League midway report: Groups A – D

Porn star: No one parties like Janikowski

Report: Expect Florida to make a run at Bob Stoops

The San Francisco Giants are zombies

10 bold predictions for NFL Week 8

Pitcher's wife leaves generous tip

Nicklaus defends Jameis Winston

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.