Cleat Geeks

NHL’s Weekly Withdrawal Roundup: Vladimir Tarasenko’s Huge Deal Draws Differing Views

In the NHL’s 2010 draft, the St. Louis Blues were able to move up to 16th overall, after making a trade with the Ottawa Senators. With that particular pick, they signed the highly touted Russian forward, Vladimir Tarasenko. For the next two years, Tarasenko went back to Russia and continued his play. In the NHL’s 2012-2013 lockout shortened season, he suited up in a Blues uniform for his first taste of NHL play; recording 8 goals, 11 assists (19 points) and a plus 1 +/- in 38 games. Upon the conclusion of another failed Blues playoff run, Tarasenko went back to Russia and continued his play with the SKA St. Petersburg-KHL club.

The next season arrived quickly (2013-2014 season) and Vladimir continued improving play. In 64 games that season he recorded 21 goals, 22 assists (43 points) and was a plus 20 +/-. In the Play-offs that year, he recorded 4 goals in the Blues 6 game first round series loss.

Last season he further improved yet again, almost doubling his previous year’s stats in almost all categories and arguably becoming the Blues best player. Last season, he took the NHL by storm, ranking 10th overall for forwards with 37 goals, 36 assists (73 points) and a plus 27 +/- while wowing fans with his ability to create space and make plays all over the ice. During the Playoffs he scored 6 goals and had 1 assist in 6 games in the Blues third consecutive 1st round departure.

Vladimir Tarasenko 2

St. Louis Blues Forward, Vladimir Tarasenko, signing his $60 million, 8 year contract extension.

For many NHL fans (regardless of their favorite team) it is well known that Vladimir Tarasenko just signed a $60 million, 8 year contract with the St. Louis Blues. Fans of the Note have been awaiting this signing for quite some time, understanding that this offseason Tarasenko would be a Restricted Free Agent (RFA). Few are surprised by the AAV (annual average value) paid for Tarasenko, but it’s a safe bet that even fewer figured it would be for 8 seasons.

The question at this point for many is, what will the future hold for Tarasenko as a player who just received the biggest contract in St. Louis Blues history? Blues fans are ecstatic by the signing, while some experts worry that Tarasenko’s cumulative serving size of approximately 2 seasons just isn’t enough to grant such a lucrative contract. The consensus is, that he hasn’t had the opportunity thus far in his career to show that he can continue on his current pace, of being one of the very few “elite franchise players” in the NHL.

Vladimir Tarasenko Stats

Regular Season |

’12-’13 38 8 11 19 1 10 75 10.7 3 2 0 0 1 13:25 26:49
’13-’14 64 21 22 43 20 16 136 15.4 5 2 0 0 3 15:10 22:35
’14-’15 77 37 36 73 27 31 264 14.0 8 10 0 0 6 17:37 18:35
Career 179 66 69 135 48 57 475 13.9 16 14 0 0 10 0


The counter to these claims is looking at the actual statistics, while viewing the maturity of the 23 year old Tarasenko. While many young players are still trying to find their niche in the NHL, Tarasenko is a ready born leader. Listening to his comments only further solidifies this assertion. “This is going to be my year number eight in pro hockey. In these eight years, I have a lot of stuff happen with me and I have a lot of situations. I work all my life to make this deal. I’m not stupid to just stop working and stop improving myself. That’s how my parents, my father and my grandfather tell me when I was young, ‘You need to be better every time. Doesn’t matter how many goals you score, you need to score more every year.’ There’s no other way I’m going to stop doing what I did before and we still don’t have a Cup. All what I’m thinking about, all what I’m dreaming about has been the Cup.”

Unlike some players that look to cash in and ride the money train (i.e. Mike Richards), Tarasenko is all about putting his money where his mouth is. Since recently getting married on July 1st, Tarasenko is already back on the ice preparing for next season. He has one thing on his mind and feels a personal responsibility for what is very cut and dry. “I think the main part for me, we need to have one goal. So it’s not about points, it’s not about the goals, it’s not about whatever. It’s all about the Cup. If 26 guys dreaming about same thing, I think we can make it.”

Regardless of whatever side you’re on, one thing is clear. It is almost impossible to not want to see only good things for Vladimir Tarasenko and his quest toward becoming one of the NHL’s best for years to come. Looking at his past work ethic and production, one can only assume that he will be. What are your thoughts? Feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

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