Originally written on Puck Drunk Love  |  Last updated 11/20/14

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)
If you're not a fan of the St. Louis Blues, or if you're not a hockey fan that pours over each and every NHL roster, you might not have heard of Vladimir Tarasenko until after he scored two beautiful goals in his first NHL game. In fact, if you weren't able to catch up on your NHL highlights, you still might be in the dark about this talented young Russian.  I'll summarize what you might have missed - This is one NHL rookie you need to watch, regardless of your team affiliation.  The Vladimir Tarasenko hype has been growing in the St. Louis area ever since the team drafted him 16th overall in the 2010 NHL Draft. At that time, Tarasenko had been skating in the KHL with HC Sibir, a team he originally made his KHL debut for in 2008. He played with them for three seasons before being traded to SKA St. Petersburg in 2012. Fans of Tarasenko saw him develop into a lethal talent in the KHL, one capable of providing offense where seemingly no offense exists.  Don't take my word for it. Check out one of Tarasenko's many, many KHL highlight videos below.  Like almost any draft pick, Tarasenko was a risky one. Some NHL fans like to point to the "Russian factor", which usually means Russian picks won't work hard for you and that they generally don't pan out. They'll disappoint you and leave you wishing you could have your draft pick back. The Blues ignored that theory and went ahead with their pick, confident they knew what they'd be getting in the young Russian. The only major worry - and it was a legitimate one - was that Tarasenko might elect to stay and play in the KHL. Fears mounted once Tarasenko joined SKA as the team had the resources to make Tarasenko a large offer the Blues simply wouldn't be able to match. These fears subsided when Tarasenko announced in June of 2012 that he would be leaving Russia to pursue his dream of playing in the NHL and the matter was put to bed when he officially signed a 3-year, $2.7 million contract with the Blues. However, once the lockout started, it was unclear if Tarasenko would be convinced to abandon the Blues in favor of more money and the chance to remain in his home country. Again, Tarasenko turned his back on the KHL, honoring his contract and setting off to start his NHL career shortly after the lockout ended. That brings us up to Tarasenko's NHL debut on Saturday, January 19th.  I'll let the videos do the talking.  First NHL shot, first NHL goal. Sure, you can criticize the Detroit defense on this one (where were they?) but give the rookie credit for tallying his first NHL goal on a nifty break that included a leg fake and a hard shot past a defenseless Jimmy Howard.  Tarasenko wasn't done and apparently he saved his best for last.  Wow. Kyle Quincey should probably go hang his head in shame after that one. Tarasenko cut by him as if he wasn't even there and then again made Jimmy Howard look helpless with a sharp cut right in front of the crease. Tarasenko's first goal was terrific but his second goal was simply outstanding.  The two videos above are just a small sample of what Tarasenko is capable of. No one is really sure what he'll be able to accomplish at the NHL level, but it's safe to say he got the hockey world buzzing with his debut. With Tarasenko bolstering an offense that already had numerous young weapons, the Blues are one of the favorites to hoist the Cup in 2013. What magic will Tarasenko show off next? Tune in so you don't miss out. This is one NHL rookie that could captivate the NHL for years to come and you won't want to miss it.  Speaking of magic tricks, check out Tarasenko's effort from the KHL All-Star Game in 2012.  Photo courtesy of B26 Photography [follow]
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Sheldon Richardson: I'm on the same level as JJ Watt

Kendrick Perkins: Rajon Rondo wanted out of Boston

Report: Jim Harbaugh being encouraged to take Michigan job

Three quarterbacks who could be traded this offseason

Wolves trade Corey Brewer to the Rockets

Yankees trade Prado to Marlins for Eovaldi in 5-player deal

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Brandon Browner fined $8K for throwing Brandon Gibson to turf

Report: Sharper, NFLers called spiked drinks 'horny juice'

Rex Ryan: My wife could coach Tom Brady

Jim Harbaugh won in laser tag by 'hunting' 10-year-old kid

Eddie Lacy is ‘very blind,’ refuses to wear goggles

Michael Phelps pleads guilty to DUI, gets probation

Brian Kelly: Justin Brent gets 'distracted,' is in my doghouse

Five free agent signings that should happen in 2015

Reporter asks Rajon Rondo awkward question about trade

Video: Swaggy P elbows Steven Adams in throat, gets ejected

Video: Grizzlies buy car for assistant who had his stolen

Video: LeBron takes pass to the face from Dion Waiters

New video of Ray Rice incident emerges

President Obama calls James Franco “James Flacco”

NBA games of the weekend: Rondo's Dallas debut, Bulls-Grizz

Tuscaloosa students will have two days off if Bama plays in National Championship

Brady scares the **** out of his teammates celebrating

Longhorn Network’s yule log? Five hours of BEVO

NHL 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 Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Reporter asks Rondo awkward question

Three quarterbacks who could be traded this offseason

Jon Lester and the Cubs

Report: NFL players used 'horny juice'

Top 10 worst NBA related commercials of all-time

Phelps gets probation for DUI

NFL coaches on hot seat in Week 16

The Roy Williams-Terrell Owens horse collar turns 10

Most underpaid NFL players in 2014

Gronk jokes about Brady compliment

In Matt Kemp, did the Dodgers find a pigeon in Padres?

Why the Saints are legit playoff threat

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.