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Vladimir Tarasenko is here to stay

The veteran forward is having a renaissance of a season.

NHL: Dallas Stars at St. Louis Blues Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Whether you like it or not, I’m fairly certain St. Louis Blues forward and alternate captain Vladimir Tarasenko is here to stay.

Tarasenko, a right-wing, has been in St. Louis since 2010. The 30-year-old NHL star was drafted 16th overall by the Blues in the 2010 NHL Draft. He previously played for HC Sibir Novosibirsk and SKA Saint Petersburg in his native Russia.

During the offseason, Tarasenko was the subject of countless trade rumors due to requesting a deal to get out of St. Louis because of issues concerning his shoulder surgeries. I don’t know about you, but the recent rumors and speculations kind of reminded me of the gossip stories about Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers before the start of the 2021 NFL season. Tarasenko didn’t deserve those rumors, but it was reported by various media outlets that the Blues were looking to trade “The Russian Tank.”

Don’t get me wrong, the Blues may still be looking to trade Tarasenko, who might still want a trade. Anything could happen, but he may stay in St. Louis for one more year as his eight-year, $60 million contract is set to expire at the end of the 2022-23 NHL season. After that, he’ll become a UFA. Maybe he’ll be pursued by the New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils, or Nashville Predators (and I wouldn’t mind if any of those teams did as that’d make the league a bit more interesting). But that thought’s on the back burner.

I can’t end the Tarasenko narrative, but I can explain why I’m not buying it. He has registered 32 points (13 goals, 19 assists) in 32 games so far this season. He has scored nine points (five goals, four assists) in his last five games.

If you’re a harsh or a casual fan, you might think he’s not good like he used to be; but he’s on the Blues’ second line for a reason. He’s one of the team’s offensive sparks alongside Jordan Kyrou and Robert Thomas. He’s still a top forward in my book.

Tarasenko’s point streak is currently at four games. He picked up three points (one goal, two assists) in the Blues’ 4-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers at the Enterprise Center on Wednesday, December 29, 2021. He was named the “First Star of the Game.”

Tarasenko is part of the reason why the Blues have been having offensive success, despite having an unsteady offense due to illnesses, injuries, etc. Also, the Russian line of him, Ivan Barbashev, and Pavel Buchnevich is fun to watch when they do play together.

Tarasenko may not be godlike, but he seems to have returned to the vintage NHLer that Blues fans have come to love.