Rangers Report Cards: Vladimir Tarasenko: A- (Wasn’t on the team)
Tarasenko’s stint on Broadway might have been brief, but it was a blast. When he joined the Rangers after GM Chris Drury acquired him from the St. Louis Blues, he immediately slotted in as Mika Zibanejad’s right-hand man and Artemi Panarin’s go-to passer. Any pre-game jitters he might’ve had were nowhere to be seen; he scored on his second shift as a Ranger.
Yes, some folks doubted Tarasenko’s shoulder and defensive skills, but he made sure to silence those skeptics.
Although he struggled in his first ten games with the Rangers, with only three goals and seven points, he made a statement with a goal and two assists in his tenth game, shutting down some of the criticism floating around. That performance would be the catalyst for a hot streak.
As the postseason drew closer, the “Tarasenkshow” notched six goals and 15 points in his last 19 games. When the regular season wrapped up, he had racked up eight goals and 19 points in his 28 games on Broadway. In the first round against New Jersey, he had three goals and four points in the seven-game series. The surprise? He even displayed some serious defensive chops with a bunch of blocked shots.
At 31, he’s not the superstar he once was, but Tarasenko’s still a threat when he’s in top shape. And he certainly got his due this offseason. Larry Brooks reported that Tarasenko was keen on returning to the Rangers in Free Agency, but the pesky cap constraints got in the way. So, he wound up inking a one-year, $5 million contract with the Ottawa Senators.
Though his time in New York was short, and the team didn’t snag that elusive Stanley Cup, Tarasenko left a lasting impression, endearing himself to the Blueshirts faithful.