St. Louis Blues: Why Vladimir Tarasenko May Stay in the KHL After Lockout Ends

Jacob BornContributor IIIOctober 5, 2012

BUFFALO, NY - JANUARY 02: Vladimir Tarasenko #10 of Russia skates against f Finland  during the 2011 IIHF World U20 Championship game between Finland and Russia on January 2, 2011 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

The lockout is approaching three weeks now, and we are just under a week away from what was going to be the start of the regular season. The two sides have yet to make any real movement in getting a deal done, and for fans, it looks like the lockout will be lasting a while.

For St. Louis Blues fans, this could mean no Vladimir Tarasenko.

The Blues drafted Tarasenko with the 16th overall pick in the 2010 draft. The coveted Blues prospect has spent his past two years playing in the KHL, while the Blues have been trying to get him to jump ship to the NHL. After these two years of waiting, the Blues got Tarasenko to sign a three-year, entry-level contract.

Tarasenko was brought to St. Louis and was practicing with the team. Then, the NHL locked out. 

At first, it seemed as if Tarasenko was not going back to Russia, as he and SKA ST. Petersburg could not reach an agreement. But, the two hashed out an agreement, and Tarasenko was on the next flight to Russia. 

It would make sense for Tarasenko to go back to Russia, because that is where he has been the past four years of his career and where he has seen success. It is where his friends and family are, and he doesn't need to get accustomed like he would if he were in America. 

And now with the exodus of NHL stars to Europe, he is playing against NHL-level talent.

So far, in the 2012-2013 season, Tarasenko already has four goals in three games, on only eight shots, making his shooting percentage 50 percent. He's playing on a line with Ilya Kovalchuk, who has seven points in four games, including six assists. The two have become leaders on the SKA team, and have the team in seventh place and a plus-12 goal differential. 

With the success Tarasenko is already having the KHL, along with playing with NHL talent, he may not want to come back to the NHL. If he can compete now, what is to say that when the NHLers go back to the NHL, he doesn't become the best player in the KHL? 

Tarsenko is already proving that he is exactly what the Blues need to make the final push to becoming Stanley Cup contenders and they are just left to wonder if he will ever be coming back.