Draft Watch: Vladimir TarasenkoMay 14, 2010, by
The Rangers have the tenth overall pick in the draft, and while some writers think the Rangers will draft a goalie (for some unknown reason), the Rangers most pressing need at the NHL level is a scorer.
One scorer who ranks high, but might indeed fall to the Rangers at #10 is Russian winger Vladimir Tarasenko. The 5’11 202 lb RW is in his second season with the KHL, and has put up a line of 13-11-24 in 42 games. Considering the KHL’s seniority type playing time, that is a pretty impressive total for the very young winger. Tarasenko, a left-handed shot who plays on the off-wing (a rarity in the NHL), has an absolutely lethal shot. The ability to shoot off the pass while playing the off-wing will help him become a feared sniper in the NHL.
Tarasenko isn’t just a sniper. His superb hands, which are a big part of his deadly shot, also make him a deft passer and stick handler. These attributes make him a premier all-around offensive machine in the draft. The young winger is also very strong on his skates, making him tough to push off the puck. His acceleration to top speed needs work, but if that’s the only flaw in his offensive game, it’s something any GM will gladly take a risk on.
What might make Tarasenko drop to the Rangers at #10 is his “signability”. Like most players in the KHL, a transfer agreement with Tarasenko’s team (Novosibirsk Siber) would have to be set up to ensure that the winger can come state-side to play in the NHL. With this transfer agreement comes the questions of Tarasenko’s desire to play in the NHL, and leave Russia.
Regardless of the transfer-agreement status, Tarasenko is one of the top offensive talents available in the draft this year. The Rangers have showed no hesitance in drafting transfer-agreement problem players (Alexei Cherepanov, RIP). Should he slip to the Rangers at #10, you can expect the Blueshirts to jump on this talent, and spend whatever is necessary to ensure he plays in the NHL next season.
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