Jaden Schwartz vs. Vladimir Tarasenko

steve laidlaw

2013-07-24

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You’ve heard plenty about Schwartz this week but where does he stand in relation to Tarasenko?

 

In Saturday's ramblings I commented on St. Louis' forward situation pumping up Vladimir Tarasenko as a potential star for the Blues:


This means that St. Louis continues to be a crowded joint. They have so many talented forwards I won't dare to mention them but suffice it to say that they have at least 10 forwards who could all play top six minutes on another team. I do think that there's room for someone to emerge as a scoring star there – Ken Hitchcock isn't allergic to offense – but it's going to require someone to take a leap into stardom.

 

I'm looking squarely at Vladimir Tarasenko when I say that because there isn't another star forward on the Blues. The rest are complimentary guys. If Tarasenko wants it though, he could score like Nash in Columbus or maybe even like Modano in Dallas. He's going to have to put it all together however, and develop some good chemistry too. And Tarasenko's going to have to earn Hitchcock's complete trust too because it requires minutes to be a big scorer. Tarasenko only skated 13:24 per game last season; he needs way more ice time but he also has to earn it.

 

Some people (including DobberHockey's own, Jeff Angus) took issue with that sentiment feeling that I overlooked Jaden Schwartz. This led to some back and forth discussion and ultimately come Monday you had not one but two features on Schwartz. At the risk of putting you into Schwartz-hype overload it seems necessary to do a Cage Match featuring Schwartz and Tarasenko.

 

Not that there can only be one star in St. Louis, I just don't see Schwartz reaching that level the same way I can Tarasenko. And I really like Schwartz as a player. He is a good skater, he is smart, skilled and plays with a relentless tenacity that makes him an overachiever. He is exactly the type of player that Blues' head coach Ken Hitchcock loves because he knows how to play within a system and will do so responsibly. And there is an argument to be made that this ability to play within a system on top of an underdog/overachiever mentality and a bevy of skill will allow him to break the shackles and become a scoring star similar to the way Parise broke through on the traditionally anemic New Jersey Devils back in 2008-09.

 

But those same qualities that will endear Schwartz to Hitchcock and create his possibly break out could also prevent Schwartz from ever truly achieving his upside. It's entirely possible that Schwartz simply keeps his head down, fills his role and becomes yet another one of the 40-50 point drones Hitchcock has buzzing around as he rolls his lines showing very little in the way of favouritism.

 

Consider the plight of David Perron, the forward whose depa