St. Louis Blues Sign Top Prospect Vladimir Tarasenko

Adrian Szkolar@@adrianszkolarContributor IIIJune 2, 2012

According to Jeremy Rutherford of St. Louis Today, Vladimir Tarasenko, one of the top prospects in the world, has agreed to a three-year entry level contract with the St. Louis Blues and will be in North America next season.

The 20-year-old right winger put up 52 goals and 48 assists in 176 games in the past four seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League.

This season, he was an assistant captain for Sibir Novosibirsk, putting up 38 points in 39 games before being traded to SKA St. Petersberg, where he put up nine points in 15 regular season games and 16 points in 15 playoff games. He finished eighth in the KHL scoring race with 47 points.

The Russian also has extensive international experience, having captained Russian U-20 team to the 2010 World Hockey Junior championship, scoring 11 points in seven games. He also played for the Russian national team in the World Hockey Championship that year.

According to Rutherford, Tarasenko was offered a more lucrative contract by the KHL.

Tarasenko was left off Russia's World Championship roster, but he did have a lucrative offer to return to the KHL. It's not known how much he was offered to stay, but sources say the Russian offer dwarfs the maximum deal the Blues are able to provide under the current collective-bargaining agreement. The base salary for a 2010 draft pick is $900,000, but can be increased with some performance bonuses.  

The Blues drafted Tarasenko 16th overall in the 2010 NHL draft, after acquiring the pick from Ottawa in exchange for defenseman David Runblad.

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