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2023 CBJ Top 25 Under 25: The time is now for Daniil Tarasov whether he’s ready or not

Thanks to the 79 readers who submitted ballots in this year’s ranking of Columbus Blue Jackets players under the age of 25. Stay tuned over the next six weeks as we count down the top 25.

#11 Daniil Tarasov


11th out of 45 eligible players
Writer Rank: 12
Reader Rank: 10
Highest placement: 3 (1 vote)
Most common placement: 10 (14 votes)
2022 Rank: 9


Birthdate: March 27, 1999
Birthplace: Novokuznetsk, Russia
Height: 6’5″
Weight: 196 lbs
Position: Goaltender
Catches: Left
Acquired: 2017 3rd round 86th overall pick

2022-23 Season

There were two themes for the big Russian goaltender last season: inconsistent play and injuries. As was the case for much of the rest of the roster, injuries took their toll on the goaltending depth this past year. In what was supposed to be a year where he played heavy minutes as the bonafide #1 in Cleveland, he once again had those plans derailed thanks to injuries to both himself as well as the tandem in Columbus.

He bounced back and forth between Columbus and Cleveland, never really getting a chance to settle in anywhere, and when he did see the ice somewhat consistently, it was behind a bad team. Both Columbus and Cleveland ranked near the bottom of the league in terms of goals allowed and his own numbers reflect that. It was not all his fault, but a sub-.900 save percentage in both leagues is not a great look. He has shown flashes of high-end skill on occasion, but far too many questionable goals allowed often overshadowed them.

Hailed as the goalie of the future, his performance thus far has done little to reinforce those lofty expectations. He has great size and physical attributes to go along with elite athleticism, both things that cannot be taught. It’s mostly for those reason he remains so high on this list despite the lackluster results to this point.

2023-24 Season Outlook

For better or worse, Tarasov is going to be an NHL regular this season. Without another legitimate goaltending prospect in the pipeline ready for NHL duties, he will get every opportunity to stake his claim as a NHL regular. In addition, there is virtually no chance Jarmo Kekalainen is willing to risk losing him to waivers.

A new goalie coach and a competent head coach will do wonders for this team going forward, goaltending in particular. The biggest question facing Tarasov is whether he can remain healthy and be available for the team. He should easily be in line for 20-25 games next season, and they will need him to be better than he’s shown in the past.