Vladimir Tarasenko (Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images)
Vladimir Tarasenko was a 20-goal scorer in his rookie season, a 30-goal scorer as a sophomore and is well on his way to becoming a 40-goal guy in his third full season. It doesn’t hurt when Tarasenko’s able to shake defensemen with skill and strength and beat goaltenders with a lethal shot.
Vladimir Tarasenko burst into the NHL in 2013-14 as a 20-goal, 40-point player. In his sophomore campaign, he scored 37 goals and eclipsed the 70-point plateau. Now in his third season, Tarasenko is well on his way to a 40-goal, 80-point year, and it’s not hard to see why.
Coming down the right wing, Tarasenko used a quick pivot to both shield the puck and fake a move back into the middle of the ice. The move gave Lovejoy enough pause that Tarasenko was able to get a step and then use his size to drive inside. With Lovejoy shielded away thanks to Tarasenko’s strength, the Blues winger shed a stick check before roofing the puck over the shoulder of Zatkoff:
Tarasenko’s goal was his 25th of the season and pushed him into a tie for fourth with Dallas’ Tyler Seguin in the Rocket Richard Trophy race. Tarasenko only sits four goals back of league-leader Patrick Kane, two away from catching countryman Alexander Ovechkin for second place and one back of tying Jamie Benn. All told, Tarasenko’s now on pace for a 43-goal, 79-point season.
In a season that has been riddled with injuries for the Blues, Tarasenko has only missed two outings and has been the most consistent thing about St. Louis this season. Every game that he’s on the ice, he’s making something happen. And if his scoring trends keep up, Tarasenko could be a 50-goal, 90-point player by the time the 2016-17 campaign closes.