27-Year-Old Center – Chicago Blackhawks
Artem Anisimov Contract Information:
Signed a five-year, $22.75 million contract extension with the Blackhawks in July 2015.
Anisimov had a short-handed goal and three assists in Saturday's 5-1 win over Dallas. He finished plus-3.
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Artem Anisimov: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Anisimov set a career high with 22 goals last season, but otherwise it was more of the same from the center who contributed 39 points in 81 games. The Blue Jackets are improving around him, but that's not necessarily a good thing for Anisimov's fantasy value, as he seems rooted on the third line and won't see much power play time. If the Jackets' next wave of kids, led by Alexander Wennberg, start to make a big push for playing time, Anisimov could easily find himself on the trading block, but for this season another 40-point campaign seems a fairly safe bet.
Concussion issues limited Anisimov to 35 games and 18 points in his first campaign with the Blue Jackets, but when he was on the ice Anisimov was the same maddeningly inconsistent player he was with the Rangers. He's got the skills on offense to be a difference-maker and knows his way around his own zone yet too often he fades into the background rather than imposing his will on the opposition. He did show a spark alongside Marian Gaborik after the sniper arrived in Columbus (which could help Anisimov maintain a higher level of play) but most likely he is headed for another 40-45 point season and the frustrating feeling that he's capable of better.
Anisimov seemed to stagnate in his third NHL campaign, managing just 16 goals and 36 points in 79 games. Sent to Columbus in the Rick Nash trade he'll now have a chance to earn a top-six placement and get his career moving forward again, but there are a couple of things working against a breakout. First, Anisimov's skill set is not unlike Derick Brassard's in that he's a slick playmaker who lacks a physical element to his game, and it's hard to see how they can both fit into significant roles on the Blue Jackets' roster. Anisimov is a solid defender with the ability to do fancy things on offense, but a general tendency to disappear for long stretches of time offensively. He has a ton of upside, and, only a few years ago, registered a 37-goal, 81-point season in the AHL at age 20. He could yet develop into a good sniper.
Anisimov took a noticeable step forward in his development last year, increasing from a 28-point (12 G, 16 A) rookie season in 2009-10, to 44 (18 G, 26 A) last year. Still, he had some lapses in consistent production. It's not uncommon for young Russian players to take a couple of years to acclimate themselves to the NHL and breakout in their third season, which bodes well for this Blueshirt as he prepares for 2011-12. Brad Richards' arrival also means no constant search for a No. 1 center in the Big Apple, so Anisimov should settle in between Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan, with whom he has thrived. Anisimov has already shown a willingness to do the dirty work and the intangibles it takes to play in the NHL. He's shown slow but steady development each year with the organization. If he continues to do that, there's reason to believe he'll break the 50-55 point mark, making him a solid No. 3 fantasy center this season.
Anisimov will look to build off a fairly quiet rookie year in which he tallied 12 goals and 16 assists playing in all 82 games for the Rangers. The 6-4 forward plays a solid two-way game, and at age 22, he appears to have a very bright future on Broadway. Anisimov was juggled throughout the lines last season and he has a bunch of centers in town to battle with this year, but it is likely that Arty will find himself centering the third line when the season opens. He possesses great skill, but definitely has to fill out his tall body and become a bit stronger on the puck. Anisimov is coming off right wrist surgery, but he is expected to be ready well before training camp in September. The soon-to-be second-year forward could be a decent fantasy pick in the very late rounds, but temper your expectations and hope for somewhere between 30 and 40 points.
Anisimov had a brief stint with the Rangers last year, but he figures to be a much bigger part of the puzzle this year for the Blueshirts. He'll compete for a spot this fall in camp, though he's not guaranteed a spot. He has the perfect size, speed, and talent combination that could make him a big-time fantasy asset in a number of years.
Anisimov has plenty of offensive ability, and could be a first or second line center for the Rangers in the future. If he is unable to make the team out of training camp, look for Anisimov to have a mid-season call up.
Anisimov is a good skater and has great vision on the ice. He's already shown that he is a very good playmaker and passer, but needs to bulk up in the weight room. He's a few seasons away, but the Rangers have had his eye on him for awhile -- if he impresses in training camp, the organization may have to make a tough decision here. In 2006-07, Anisimov played in 39 games with Yaroslavl Lokomotiv of the Russian Hockey League, tallying two goals and eight assists for 10 points, along with 26 penalty minutes.
Anisimov needs to add some weight and strength but projects to be a solid two-way forward with offensive potential who should center the second or third line in the future.