Columbus Blue Jackets 2023-24 player review, Daniil Tarasov struggled to stay healthy again

The Blue Jackets have been high on Daniil Tarasov since his draft year. His inability to stay healthy and put his future into question. Yet, his play in the second half of the season showed his potential and why the team is still high on the young goaltender.
Colorado Avalanche v Columbus Blue Jackets
Colorado Avalanche v Columbus Blue Jackets / Jason Mowry/GettyImages

Daniil Tarasov was a third round pick (86th overall) by the Blue Jackets in 2017. They projected him to be a starting goalie in the NHL; however, he has yet to prove that he can be a legitimate #1 goalie in the NHL.

One of the biggest reasons for that is Tarasov’s health. Since coming to North America in 2020, he has yet to play a total of 30 games or more in a season (that is in the NHL and AHL combined). Injuries have hampered his development and have not allowed the Blue Jackets organization to see what they have in Tarasov.

This past season (2023-2024), Tarasov played in 24 games for the Blue Jacket and 4 games for the Cleveland Monsters. He sported a 0.908 save percentage and 3.18 goals against average with the Blue Jackets. Those numbers are decent but not amazing. But what stands out is his play since February 21st.

The Blue Jackets, well out of a playoff race, decided to play Tarasov a lot in the 2nd half of the season to see exactly what they have in the young goaltender. Since 2/21/23, Tarasov played in 13 games, was 5-5-1, and sported a 0.933 save percentage and 2.51 goals against average.

Those numbers put him in elite company within the NHL. He was one of (if not the best) goalie in the NHL over that period. Unfortunately for Tarasov, he ended the season missing some time due to another injury. If Tarasov could stay healthy and play like that, then the Blue Jackets may have found their new #1 goalie for next year and beyond.

Tarasov is signed through the end of next season (2024-2025) at $1.05 million AAV. After next season, he will be a restricted free agent. The new general manager will probably want to see how Tarasov performs this season before resigning him.

Could his good play this season be a sign of things to come? Or is it a fluke? Next season will help answer that question. If he performs as well as he did this season, then he will most likely be signed to an extension next summer.

Daniil Tarasov 2023-2024 grade:. A-. Final season stats: 24 games played, 8 wins, 11 losses, 3 OTL, 3.18 GAA, 0.908 save percentage, 0 SO. . Daniil Tarasov 2023-2024 grade:

Tarasov finally had the type of season that many within the organization had expected: he stayed mostly healthy and played very well. In the final months of the season, he was one of the better goalies in the NHL statistically. For his improvement and better health, he gets an A-. The only reason he doesn’t get an A is because he wasn’t consistently playing well all season, primarily in the final half of the season.