No. 6: Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, St. Louis Blues
Disclaimer: This post was a tag-team effort by Mike Brennan and Colin Likas. Being that this is a Blackhawks blog, first and foremost, it’s only fair to note this entry is from Colin.
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I hate how high on am on Tarasenko as a hockey player, if only because he plays for the Blues. This guy is so good at hockey. Like, so good, guys. He’d be the Blues’ captain if they had any sense (thankfully they don’t). If he and Patrick Kane play on the same trio in the All-Star game, the hockey world and Twittersphere may both implode … along with my head.
While Jake Allen and Brian Elliott have both been fine-to-good in net (Allen’s currently hurt), and while Alex Steen is having a fine offensive season and the Blues are finding a slight semblance of scoring balance on their roster, Tarasenko is keeping St. Louis in the Central Division race. He’s the only Blue with more than 20 goals at 25, is second on the team in assists with 21, has a team-high eight powerplay goals and four game-winning tallies and far and away leads the club with 184 shots at a 13.6 shooting percentage. He also carries play at a 55.94 percent pace among all situations.
He’s ninth in the league in points, but he’s likely to climb before the season is over, assuming the Blues get healthier moving forward. Tarasenko is a primary reason the Blues are in the running for home ice in a brutal division, and he’ll be rewarded with a fair number of Hart Trophy votes.