Part of the fun when drafting a player from overseas is wondering when you’ll get to see him in person and have him compete for a job with the big club. That’s the position the St. Louis Blues are in with 2010 first-round pick Vladimir Tarasenko.
Blues GM Doug Armstrong tells Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the team is eager to have him come over and try out for a spot with the big club, but they’re not going to force him into making a decision.
“We’d like him to come over because we think he can push for a roster spot on our team,” Armstrong said. “We think that he has the pedigree. He’s got the experience now. We would not sign him to come over and play in our minor-league system. But all that being said, whenever training camp opens, he has to prove it not to me … he has to prove it to the guys that he’s sitting beside in the room that he’s ready to play.”
Getting him signed and committed is one issue but the other is the lack of certainty about whether or not the NHL and the players association will have a new Collective Bargaining Agreement ironed out.
With that kind of uncertainty, Tarasenko ditching out on his spot in the KHL wouldn’t make a lot of sense. That’s to say nothing of having to get into St. Louis and fight for a spot on a very competitive roster coached by Ken Hitchcock.