Vladimir Tarasenko He’s had a very impressive 11-year career since being selected with the No. 1 pick. 16 overall in the 2010 NHL Draft. He recorded 553 career points, earned two All-Star appearances, and helped lead the St. Louis Blues to their first Stanley Cup in 2019.
But his goals don’t end there. The 31-year-old is determined to hoist the Cup at least one more time.
After failing to secure a contract extension with the Blues, Tarasenko was traded to Rangers on Thursday alongside the defender Niko Mikkola in exchange for Sammy Blais, Hunter Skinner, a conditional first-round pick in 2023 and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2024.
The forward spoke to the media for the first time as a Ranger on Friday after practice and made it clear he wanted to be in New York for a chance to bring home their first championship since the 1993-94 season.
“I’m happy to join the New York Rangers, see some of my friends,” Tarasenko said. “The group of guys seems very nice, they gave me a warm welcome. I feel very, very good.”
“There was no way I was staying in St. Louis. No deal was offered, so I knew I was going to be transferred somewhere. I spoke to Artemis [Panarin] and they want me here. I want to be here too. It’s a great team, one of my best friends is playing here and it’s a chance to win a cup again. It’s our motivation.”
Tarasenko went on to talk about his friendship with Panarin, as the two have been close for over a decade. He expressed his excitement to play in the same vein as Panarin and he Mika Zibanejad and believes he can “make things work” on the ice.
“We met before the World Juniors, in 2011 I think, and have been in contact ever since,” Tarasenko said. “He played in Chicago, we talked a little more and we talked a lot during the All-Star Game. He’s a very good guy and I can tell we’ve known each other for more than 10 years.”
Tarasenko is in the last year of an eight-year, $60 million contract and will become an unrestricted free agent after the season. While his future with the Rangers beyond this season is up in the air, there’s no question that winning a Stanley Cup would influence his decision to stay in New York long-term.
“First of all the building [Madison Square Garden]it’s always exciting to play there,” said Tarasenko. “It’s a good team, of course, and as I said before, they have a goal here to win a cup, which is very exciting.”