Defending Big D continues our annual series of looking at top draft prospects that could possibly have their name called by the Dallas Stars at the 2010 Entry Draft. Today we take a glance at a young Russian forward that some say has Top 5 potential: Vladimir Tarasenko.
Team: Novosibirsk (KHL)
Born: December 13, 1991
Hometown: Yaroslavl, Russia
Weight: 202 pounds
Position: Right Wing
NHL Central Scouting: 2nd among European skaters
International Scouting Services: 4th overall
The Hockey News: 14th overall
Red Line Report: 4th overall
Why the Stars would want him: ...
If Forbort is off the board, the Stars will fall back into their annual "Take the best player available" strategy. And it is conceivable that Tarasenko will be the best player on the board when the Stars pick at #11. Tarasenko is a pure sniper with great speed and vision, and can play either the left wing or the right wing. His offensive improvement over the past season combined with his age suggest Tarasenko has great potential and is on the way to fulfilling it.
Why the Stars would pass:
Simply put, the Stars could be scared off by Tarasenko's signability. Vladimir has a fairly lucrative KHL contract and will almost certainly play in Russia again next season. Although he has stated on numerous occasions that it is his intention to play in the NHL at some point, you can bet the Stars would be wary of the risk in drafting Tarasenko.
What they're saying:
"Vladimir is very effective around the net with his excellent overall skill level and vision. He is a strong, mobile skater with a quick shot. He is not only a sniper, but also a good passer and playmaker. There are no real weaknesses in his overall game and he will be one of the most interesting prospects at the draft."
[Tarasenko] is like a shark in the way he appears out of nowhere and then strikes with lethal precision around the net. Perhaps the most pure natural goal scorer among this year's crop, and is not at all selfish with the puck either, frequently drawing double coverage to himself before dishing off a perfect pass. He's dynamic from the circles in. But he's the one premium talent who might be available later in the first round because of his lucrative contract in the Kontinental Hockey League.
"Tarasenko has decent size, but is one of the most potent offensive players in the draft. He’s a good skater, with excellent acceleration and has the ability to reach top flight extremely quickly. His hands are excellent, making him very good in one on one situations, and his shot power and accuracy are comparable to the best players in the draft. Adding to the positives, he also competes hard, especially for a Russian, and is willing to battle for the puck to win battles."
And finally, some Tarasenko highlights: (via nhldraftvideo)