11 for 6: Vladimir Tarasenko

Name: Vladimir Tarasenko
Position: Right Wing
Shoots: Left
Height: 5.11
Weight: 202
Born: 12/13/1991, Novosibirsk, Russia
Last Team: Novosibirsk (RUS)
Rankings: CSS 2 (European Skaters), ISS 4 (Skaters), RLR 4 (Overall), THN 14 (Overall)

2009-2010 Statistics:
Novosibirsk (RUS), 42 GP, 13-11-24, 18 PIM
Russia (U20 WJC), 6 GP, 4-1-5, -1, 2 PIM

The same fears that surround fellow Russian-born prospect Alex Burmistrov swirl around Vladimir Tarasenko: what NHL team will have the guts to take a prospect in the top ten who, if he isn’t an NHL scoring liner after two or three years, may just leave for the KHL and never come back? If his name were Tyler O’Malley and he was from Brampton, Ontario, Tarasenko would likely be a top five pick. Despite his lack of height, Tarasenko is very strong on his skates and is a powerful skater with great finishing ability. He's quick and elusive with all of the puck skills you would expect from a Russian prospect with a quick release and an untiring work ethic. His hockey sense in all zones is outstanding and he's a master of pouncing on loose pucks and burying them in the back of the net in the blink of an eye. Some scouts have gone so far as to call him a pocket-sized version of fellow Russians Alex Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk. Despite playing modest minutes on the checking lines this season for Novosibirsk in the KHL, Tarasenko put up a very respectable 13 goals and 24 points in 42 games against grown men. That’s pretty darn good for an 18 year old playing in a league that is loaded with former NHLers and former prospects with AHL experience. It was so good, in fact, that Tarasenko got a look for the Russians at their last Euro Tour event of the year, which is a rare honor typically reserved only for young, future superstars of the Ovechkin and Kovalchuk ilk. Still, despite all those positives, do the Lightning have the stones to take a homerun cut by drafting Tarasenko? He could be the Malkin to Steven Stamkos’ Crosby, or he could be gone like a puff of smoke in the wind in three years time.

Previous Prospect Profiles:
11 for 6: G, Jack Campbell
11 for 6: D, Cam Fowler
11 for 6: D, Erik Gudbranson
11 for 6: D, Brandon Gormley
11 for 6: C, Alex Burmistrov
11 for 6: RW, Brett Connolly
11 for 6: LW, Nino Neiderreiter
11 for 6: C/RW, Jeff Skinner