Originally written on Puck Drunk Love  |  Last updated 1/21/13

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)
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 At that time, Tarasenko had been skating in the KHL with HC Sibir, a team he originally made his KHL debut for in 2008.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]
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Sheldon Richardson escapes felony charges for recent arrest

Lawyer who litigated against NFL: Brady plays every game

Cowboys should sign interested RB Steven Jackson

Jameis Winston confirmed as Buccaneers starting QB

Russell Wilson contract increases likelihood of change

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jim Harbaugh doesn’t care if he’s popular

Johnny Manziel struggles in first day of Browns camp

Report: Wilson, Seahawks agree to four-year, $86.7M contract

Report: Former Jets exec leaked false Deflategate info to ESPN

Belichick on sticking it to NFL: 'Really not very important to me'

Yankees, Astros reportedly both pursuing Craig Kimbrel

Stop kvetching about Notre Dame, please

Rebuttal banner supporting Tom Brady flies over Pats practice

Ranking the NFL’s 32 head coaches

LeSean McCoy cancels party, but it wasn't some 'weird orgy'

Redskins making huge mistake by signing Junior Galette

New Blue Jay David Price got a flat tire on his way to Toronto

Five of the worst baseball trades since 2000

Famed ballboy Red Lightning spotted at Falcons camp

Rickie Fowler aces final hole, treats media to free beers

SEC remains college football's best conference

The Rock 'pretty disappointed,' but defends Hulk Hogan

Urban Meyer will make us wait on OSU's starting QB decision

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.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ranking the NFL’s 32 head coaches

Five worst baseball trades since 2000

Examining the state of the NFL

Puig: Broke out of slump by playing baseball video games

Braves dump risk, exchange it for risk

David Price traded to Blue Jays

The indefensible Hulk Hogan

Cole Hamels chose Rangers over Astros

Can Preller fix the mess in San Diego?

Next summer's top 10 NBA free agents

Who is the NL's new top shortstop?

Cardinals HC Bruce Arians calls Jen Welter a 'trailblazer'

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