Blues to get top rookie Vladimir Tarasenko back Saturday vs. Ducks

By Brian Stubits |

Tarasenko has been out since Feb. 20 with a concussion. (Getty Images)
Tarasenko has been out since Feb. 20 with a concussion. (Getty Images)

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The St. Louis Blues are facing one of their toughest challenges of the season on Saturday night with the Anaheim Ducks coming to town. The good news is that they will get their star rookie back in time.

Vladimir Tarasenko, who was named the top rookie in the NHL for January, will return for the Blues, as the team announced.

The 21-year-old Tarasenko hasn't played since Feb. 20, when he suffered a concussion on a big hit from Colorado's Mark Olver. The hit itself was pretty scary, but the look of Tarasenko on the ice after the hit was terrifying. He was obviously not in good sorts; it looked like he was trying out for a role as a monster in a horror flick.

Scary moment behind him, Tarasenko is ready (physically) to play and, yes, he's definitely ready (mentally) to play.

"I really missed [playing]," Tarasenko said (via Jeremy Rutherford). "I'm really happy to come back."

In his first season since coming over from Russia, the highly touted prospect has not disappointed. He had shown through the first 17 games that he had a level of skill that the Blues (or any team, for that matter) could use. He had six goals and six assists while averaging less than 15 minutes per game.

It will be interesting to see how much coach Ken Hitchcock plays Tarasenko in his first game back. As evidenced by his TOI per game before the injury, he wasn't being counted on for a massive role and certainly won't be now. But if he's completely ready to go, he'll probably step back right in to where he was before.

The Blues will take that.

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