Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
A big January for the 2010 draft pick has Calder speculation running wild, and the NHL's selecting him as rookie of the month for January just adds fuel to the fire.
Vladimir Tarasenko is not leading the rookie class in scoring -- that honor goes to Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis clone Cory Conacher, with 12 points. He is, however, tied with Conacher for the league in goals with five in eight games, and he had a bigger January than the small in stature forward. Tarasenko had nine points (5 goals, 4 assists) in seven games. From the Blues' press release:
Tarasenko edged Tampa Bay Lightning center Cory Conacher (3-6--9 in six games), Edmonton Oilers center Nail Yakupov (4-1--5 in seven games), Oilers defenseman Justin Schultz (2-3--5 in seven games) and Montreal Canadiens center Alex Galchenyuk (1-4--5 in six games).
Tarasenko, 21, made his NHL debut on Jan. 19 and became just the second player in Blues history to score a pair of goals in his first game (Doug Palazzari, 1974-75) in a 6-0 victory over the Detroit Red Wings.
He notched 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists) in his next game, a 4-3 shootout win over the Nashville Predators on Jan. 21, becoming the first Blues rookie in nearly 35 years to record 5 points in his first two NHL contests (Wayne Babych, 1978-79).
Tarasenko closed the month with a four-game point streak, capped by his fifth goal of the season in a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Jan. 31.
Is it too early for the Calder talk, sure, probably, but it's still fun to try to make predictions. If Tarasenko doesn't slow down, he's on pace (by my math, which is probably totally wrong) for a 60 point season with 30 goals and 30 assists in 48 games.
Holy crap. While it's unreasonable to expect Tarasenko's torrid pace to last all season long, that is still an impressive prediction. Looks like the Blues finally got that consistent point producer, huh?