Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 1/12/13

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

Stephen Curry: Trump tweet ‘cemented’ stance about White House visit

Report: Knicks trade Carmelo Anthony to Thunder

Baker Mayfield seen talking trash to Baylor players before game

NC State DE Bradley Chubb apologizes for spitting on FSU logo

Rutgers TE uses rear end to make great catch

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Lions sign Jim Caldwell to multi-year extension

Wilton Speight leaves game with possible back injury

Roger Goodell preaches ‘unity’ in response to Trump comments

Six teams on upset alert in NFL Week 3

Three reasons why the Cleveland Indians can win the World Series

Warriors say they will visit Washington, focus on diversity

Sports & Politics Intersect: Mayor Garcetti rolls back the NFL red carpet

The 'Greatest Show temporarily not on turf' quiz

Separating MLS playoff contenders from pretenders

WNBA Finals preview: Lynx look for revenge against Sparks

The 'Chris Sale joins an elite club' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: The home runs just keep on coming

Building on the NFL's positive changes beyond 2017

NFL Week 3 predictions

The 'MLB is as powerful as ever' quiz

After a decade in the WNBA, MVP Sylvia Fowles is ready for the spotlight

College football 2017 Week 4 predictions

10 teams that can unseat the Warriors in 2018

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!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Sports & Politics Intersect: Mayor Garcetti rolls back the NFL red carpet

The 'Greatest Show temporarily not on turf' quiz

Separating MLS playoff contenders from pretenders

WNBA Finals preview: Lynx look for revenge against Sparks

Three Up, Three Down: The home runs just keep on coming

The 'Chris Sale joins an elite club' quiz

Building on the NFL's positive changes beyond 2017

NFL Week 3 predictions

After a decade in the WNBA, MVP Sylvia Fowles is ready for the spotlight

The 'MLB is as powerful as ever' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker