If there's something that grinds my gears (or does when I care enough to think about it), it's when people lump folks into a certain "type" based on nationality. Not all Germans are militant and/or industrious. Not all French are rude. Not all folks from Australia like to drink and carry a huge-ass knife. Frankly, not all Russians are enigmatic guys named Vladimir.
Look at our Vladimir. Vladimir Tarasenko isn't an enigma. His draft picture is the least enigma-filled picture ever. He's smiling like a five year old kid after you tell him he can push the switch to blow up a building. The energy is apparent right there. He doesn't care that if he weren't Russian he would have been drafted higher -- he's just thrilled to be drafted. The want to play hockey is there in his eyes. The want to play NHL hockey is there. It's a jump too far to assume that just because he's Russian that means he wants to be in the KHL until the end of time. Lots of Russian kids know that the NHL is the place to be if you want to play the best hockey in the world; there's nothing wrong with getting your feet wet in the KHL for experience, either.
Tarasenko's gotten his feet wet and lit the KHL on fire. He was eighth in the league in points, and smoked Patrick Kane's exploding puck trick with this one:
You can't compare this kid to anyone. That's not stopping some folks. I guess that it's human nature to try to find the closest comparison to someone or something else so your brain can understand new information. Kevin Lorenz of InsideSTL.com tries to compare Tarasenko to the two most notable Russians to come through the NHL draft recently: Evgeny Malkin and Nikita Filatov. They're notable for pretty different reasons, obviously. I'm unsure how valid is it to directly compare Tank to either one of these guys, but it is interesting how Malkin's path to the NHL is similar to Tarasenko's, while Fliatov's is their's in reverse.
Anywho, my question to you guys this week is this: is there anyone that you feel comfortable comparing Tarasenko to, and why?