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Blues Expect Tarasenko in St. Louis Soon

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues

UPDATE (Jan. 11, 10:02 a.m.): Tarasenko has arrived in St. Louis and participated in Friday's informal skate at St. Louis Mills.

With the framework for a new collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and the NHL Players' Association now in place, Blues players have begun making plans to return to St. Louis, if they haven't arrived already.

That group includes Vladimir Tarasenko, the Blues' 2010 first-round draft pick (16th overall), who has been playing in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League. Tarasenko was loaned to the KHL in September but will be back in time for Training Camp, which will be getting underway in the near future.

"I've been in contact with his agent a few times today, and he's on his way," GM Doug Armstrong told Bernie Miklasz on 101 Sports on Monday. "He's going to come in Thursday or Friday this week."

The Blues' prospect, who signed his first professional contract in June, was introduced to St. Louis in September. In 31 KHL games this season, the 21-year-old forward has 14 goals and 17 assists (31 points). He also boasts a plus/minus rating of plus-16.

Blues players already in town held a formal skate on Monday at the Ice Zone at St. Louis Mills. Players already in town include David Backes, T.J. Oshie, Alex Pietrangelo, David Perron, Barret Jackman, Jamie Langenbrunner, Scott Nichol and Brian Elliott. More players will be returning to St. Louis throughout the week and are likely to participate in the informal skates being held daily at the Ice Zone.

"Who knows where the heck they are," Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said Monday. "You're hearing stories about planes, trains and automobiles...I really don't care. Just get your butt here and let's get going."

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