ST. LOUIS - For the third consecutive season, Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko is headed to NHL All-Star Weekend.
Tarasenko becomes the first Blue to appear in three straight All-Star games since Chris Pronger accomplished the same feat from 2000-02.
"He's earned it," Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said of Tarasenko's All-Star selection. "He's been a really effective player for us… this has been his best all-around year. I think he's really maturing as a player, and he's done a heck of a job when the game has been on the line."
Tarasenko leads the Blues and shares fourth overall in the League with 43 points this season. The Yaroslavl, Russia native also ranks fifth in goals (20), eighth in assists (23), seventh in game-winning goals (4) and sixth in shots on goal (142).
NHL All-Star Weekend will be held Jan. 28-29 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, beginning with the 2017 Coors Light NHL All-Star Skills Competition on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 6 p.m. CT and concluding with the NHL All-Star Tournament on Sunday, Jan. 29 at 2:30 p.m. Both events will be televised on NBC in the United States.
Like last year, the NHL All-Star Tournament will feature three 20-minute games of 3-on-3 hockey, with star players from each division making up the four All-Star teams: Pacific, Central, Atlantic and Metropolitan. Each team is made up of 11 players from each division: six forwards, three defenseman and two goaltenders.
Video: Tarasenko Highlight Package
Tarasenko will play for the Central Division team, which also includes Chicago's Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Corey Crawford, Winnipeg's Patrik Laine, Colorado's Nathan MacKinnon, Dallas' Tyler Seguin, Nashville's P.K. Subban, Minnesota's Ryan Suter and Devan Dubnyk.
Originally drafted by the Blues at No. 16 overall in the 2010 NHL Draft, Tarasenko ranks seventh overall since the start of the 2013-14 regular season with 118 regular-season goals and is one of just three players (Sidney Crosby and Joe Pavelski) to have logged at least 100 goals and a plus-50 rating. He has earned back-to-back Second Team NHL All-Star nominations after scoring 37 goals in 2014-15 and becoming the 14th different player in Blues history to tally 40 goals in 2015-16.
The 6-foot, 219-pound forward has accumulated 252 points (126 goals, 126 assists) and 102 penalty minutes in 299 career regular season games. Tarasenko has also recorded 26 points, including 19 goals, in 33 career playoff appearances.