You may be wondering what kind of order I’m going in to determine who to do every week in these player profiles, and if you are, just track the order so far… Lundqvist > Gaborik > Callahan > Dubinsky > Staal > Anisimov…See a pattern? Well if you don’t, I’m essentially going in the order of how important I think a certain player is to the Rangers currently as well as how much of a role they’ll play in the future success of the organization. Today we’re going to take a look at Artem Anisimov. Anisimov has experienced NHL success at a young age and I’m here to tell you how he’s gotten to that point as well as how far he I think he can take his game.
Weight: 200 lbs
Drafted: 2nd round (54th overall) in 2006 by the New York Rangers
NHL Experience: Currently in his 2nd NHL season
Before the NHL:
Before coming over to North America Anisimov stayed at home in Russia in order to build up his hockey skills. In his draft year, Anisimov played in Russia -2 (the AHL of Russia) for Lokomotiv, as well as 10 games in the KHL for the same team. Although he did not register a point in those 10 games in the KHL, playing in that league, maybe the second most competitive hockey league after the NHL, as an 18 year old was more than enough to garner the interest of the New York Rangers who decided to use one of their second round picks that season to select Anisimov.
After going through what is perhaps the hardest thing for a prospect to do, deciding to make the switch to going pro in North America, Anisimov who didn’t (and still doesn’t) speak much English made the jump to the AHL. The Rangers developed Anisimov in a great way giving him two full seasons in the AHL. In his rookie campaign Anisimov impressed recording 16 goals and 27 assists in 74 games. After failing to make the Rangers out of training camp the next season, which did not come as a surprise as he definitely needed one more year of “seasoning” Anisimov went back to Hartford on a mission. He recorded just over a point per game with 81 points (37 goals 44 assists) in 80 games. After this it was clear Anisimov needed no more time in the AHL.
Anisimov has never represented his country in the Olympic games (don’t count him out for 2014 though) but he has represented Russia in other tournaments. Anisimov represented Russia three times in the World Junior Classic, as well as this past season in the World Championships. In 9 games at the World Championships Anisimov was able to record 1 goal and 2 assists on a very loaded Russian squad.
Anisimov who is currently in his second professional year, had a very telling rookie season in the NHL. While recording 12 goals and 16 assists, the most impressive number may be that he played in all 82 games for the Rangers. This feat is absolutely sensational for a rookie. Tortorella obviously felt that Anisimov never played himself out of the lineup, and he was durable enough to sustain a full season of play.
Not only this, but the Rangers were able to learn where in the lineup Anisimov would thrive as he played his best hockey towards the end of the season where he was put on a line with wingers Brandon Prust and Jody Shelley. That line which was branded as the fourth line when they were put together quickly became the Rangers best line as they made their late season push to make the playoffs.
Outlook 2010-2011 and Beyond:
Anisimov has not fallen off at all in his second season, one which almost always seems to follow the sophomore slump pattern. Anisimov has been able to build on his play from his first season in the NHL and begin to take it to the next level this year. His line of Dubinsky, Callahan, and himself was without a doubt the Rangers best line in the absence of Marian Gaborik early in the season. Thus far this season Anisimov has played in all 21 games for the Rangers recording 7 goals and 8 assists for 15 points. He seems to be progressing every game in all aspects of what it takes to be a successful NHL player. He’s getting stronger, quicker in his decisions, making intelligent decisions, and keeping his head up which some of you remember was a problem last season (Artie ran into some pretty big hits).
There are a few things that tell you just how good Artem Anisimov may turn out to be. He’s still only 22 and he’s performing valiantly. At this young age of 22 he and his linemates were given the task of carrying the Rangers offense in the absence of their best player and they came through valiantly. Artem has been adding a mean streak to his game not being afraid to use the good size that he has. Already on pace to shatter his point totals from last season to this season, Anisimov should never stop developing.
While watching the Rangers this season, I know especially for myself, I have such a tough time remembering how young this team actually is. Tortorella believes that the core of the Rangers is already in place and evolving and getting bigger and better every day. The way I see it? The core of the Rangers is Lundqvist, Staal, Callahan, Dubinksy, Anisimov, Girardi, and Del Zotto. Add into that fact the bright crop of Rangers prospects the organization has been developing and we’ve got some serious talent here. In respects to both of their futures, it will be very interesting to see who steps up between Anisimov and Derek Stepan and grabs the position of number 1 center for the Rangers if they are given the chance. There’s no denying that Anisimov has the talent to center a top line in the NHL, but I believe he’d be better suited in a complementary second line role. There he’d be given the ability to shine and play his game which is getting better and better every day.
About the Author
Written by Adam Gavriel