Vladimir Andreyevich Tarasenko (born 13 December 1991) is a Russian professional ice hockey right winger and alternate captain for the St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League (NHL). Prior to playing in the NHL, he played in the system of Sibir Novosibirsk organization, first playing for the senior team in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) in 2008–09. He spent a total of three seasons with Novosibirsk before being traded to SKA Saint Petersburg in 2012. Tarasenko was selected in the first round, 16th overall, in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the Blues, joining the team for the 2012–13 season. Since then, he has been one of St. Louis’ leading scorers and has played in three NHL All-Star Games. Tarasenko won the Stanley Cup as a member of the Blues in 2019.
Tarasenko made his professional debut with Sibir Novosibirsk in 2008–09, scoring seven goals and ten points in 38 games and was the runner up in voting for Rookie of the Year in the KHL’s inaugural season. He was released to play with the Russian junior team at the 2009 IIHF World U18 Championships, where he scored eight goals in seven games and was named a tournament all-star as Russia won silver. Tarasenko returned to Sibir in 2009–10 as the seventh-youngest player in the League. He again represented Russia at the 2010 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships, finishing third in team scoring with five points in six games.
International Scouting Services (ISS) ranked Tarasenko as the top-ranked European skater, and fourth overall, in its mid-term rankings ahead of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Described by scouts as strong and mobile with no glaring weaknesses, Tarasenko had expressed interest in playing in the NHL, though his father, also his coach with Sibir, believed it was important that his son remain in Russia. Tarasenko was ultimately drafted by St. Louis Blues in the first round, 16th overall, at the 2010 Draft with the pick obtained via a trade from the Ottawa Senators St. Louis had acquired in exchange for David Rundblad.
On 13 January 2012, Tarasenko was traded to SKA Saint Petersburg in exchange for Vyacheslav Solodukhin. On 2 June 2012, Tarasenko announced that he would be moving to North America to play in the NHL for the St. Louis Blues rather than staying and playing in the KHL. As a result of the 2012–13 NHL lockout that cancelled a large part of the NHL regular season, however, Tarasenko instead returned to SKA to begin 2012–13. He credited the decision in part to a desire to play with Ilya Kovalchuk, the captain of the team who also joined as a result of the lockout.
St. Louis Blues
Once the lockout ended, Tarasenko began the shortened, 48-game 2012–13 season with the Blues. He scored his first and second career NHL goals on the first two shots of his league debut on 19 January 2013, against Jimmy Howard of the Detroit Red Wings in a 6–0 blowout. On 4 February, Tarasenko was named the NHL’s Rookie of the Month for January after scoring five goals and four assists (nine points). He ultimately finished his first NHL season with eight goals and 11 assists in 38 games.
On 19 March 2014, towards the conclusion of the 2013–14 season, Tarasenko underwent successful surgery to repair a hand injury sustained in a 4–1 Blues win over the Nashville Predators. He was expected to miss the remainder of the regular season, but made a quick recovery, returning to play in the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs where he scored four goals in the series against the Chicago Blackhawks.
On 28 October 2014, during the 2014–15 season, Tarasenko recorded his first career NHL hat-trick against Kari Lehtonen of the Dallas Stars and was later named the NHL’s First Star of the Week after scoring five goals and one assist during the week. Tarasenko finished the regular season leading the Blues in both goals (37) and points (73), also finishing fifth in the league in goals and ninth in total points. On 18 April 2015, Tarasenko scored his first career Stanley Cup playoff hat-trick against Devan Dubnyk of the Minnesota Wild in Game 2 of St. Louis’ Western Conference Quarterfinals matchup. In the series, he scored six goals and one assist (seven points), though the Blues ultimately fell to the Wild in six games. On 7 July 2015, during the subsequent off-season, Tarasenko, as a restricted free agent, signed an eight-year, $60 million contract with St. Louis at an annual average value of $7.5 million. Tarasenko is known for his very accurate and unique wrist shot, which has earned him a reputation as one of the most dangerous goal scorers in the NHL. He is one of two players to score at least 30 goals in each of the last five seasons, along with fellow-Russian Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals.
On 12 June 2019, Tarasenko won the Stanley Cup with the Blues in 2019, St. Louis’ first Stanley Cup in their 52-year franchise history. During the Blues’ 2019 playoff run, Tarasenko recorded 11 goals, the second-highest total among Blues players and the third-highest among all players in the playoffs. In game 5 of the 2019 Western Conference Final against the San Jose Sharks, Tarasenko became the first player in Blues playoff history to score a goal on a penalty shot.
On 24 October 2019, during a 5–2 win over the Los Angeles Kings, Tarasenko was forced to leave the game after getting tangled up with Kings defenceman Sean Walker. Four days later, it was announced that Tarasenko would require shoulder surgery and be sidelined at least five months.
Tarasenko with the Russian men’s national ice hockey team in April 2011
|2015 Czech Republic|
|World Junior Championships|
|2011 United States|
|IIHF World U18 Championship|
|2009 United States|
Internationally, Tarasenko has played for the Russian junior team three times, winning a silver medal at the 2009 IIHF World U18 Championships, sixth place at the 2010 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships and captained Russia to a gold medal at the 2011 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships. At the senior level, Tarasenko has also played for Russia at the 2011 IIHF World Championship and was a member of the Russian national team for the 2014 Winter Olympics held in his native Russia, in Sochi.
Regular season and playoffs
|2009–10||Sibirskie Snaipery Novosibirsk||MHL||1||1||0||1||0||—||—||—||—||—|
|2010–11||Sibirskie Snaipery Novosibirsk||MHL||3||2||2||4||2||—||—||—||—||—|
|2011–12||SKA Saint Petersburg||KHL||15||5||4||9||0||15||10||6||16||6|
|2012–13||SKA Saint Petersburg||KHL||31||14||17||31||8||—||—||—||—||—|
|2012–13||St. Louis Blues||NHL||38||8||11||19||10||1||0||0||0||0|
|2013–14||St. Louis Blues||NHL||64||21||22||43||16||6||4||0||4||0|
|2014–15||St. Louis Blues||NHL||77||37||36||73||31||6||6||1||7||0|
|2015–16||St. Louis Blues||NHL||80||40||34||74||37||20||9||6||15||2|
|2016–17||St. Louis Blues||NHL||82||39||36||75||12||11||3||3||6||0|
|2017–18||St. Louis Blues||NHL||80||33||33||66||17||—||—||—||—||—|
|2018–19||St. Louis Blues||NHL||76||33||35||68||22||26||11||6||17||4|
|2019–20||St. Louis Blues||NHL||10||3||7||10||0||4||0||0||0||0|
Awards and honors
|Rookie of the Month (January)||2013|
|NHL All-Star Game||2015, 2016, 2017|
|NHL Second All-Star Team||2015, 2016|
|EA Sports NHL cover athlete||2017|
|Stanley Cup champion||2019|||
|IIHF World U18 Championships First Team All-Star||2009|