The wait for a long term solution to the Chicago Blackhawks 2nd line center seems to have been solved by Stan Bowman in one 24 hour period. The Chicago Blackhawks have reportedly signed Artem Anisimov to a 5 year extension worth 22.5 million dollars which breaks out to $4.55 million a year on the salary cap.
That is a big extension for someone that has never skated on United Center ice wearing a Chicago Blackhawks uniform, and it’s a huge commitment from a team in the Chicago Blackhawks that live right up against the salary cap every season.
The reason the Brandon Saad trade was made in the first place is because he was seeking 6.5 million a year when the numbers we as fans were told during the offseason were around 4 million dollars. The best memory of the Saad deal that never happened is that people thought there was a hand shake deal in place sort of like the Jonathan Toews/Patrick Kane extension in which Saad would take a hometown discount of sorts to stay with the team that brought him to the NHL and one that he won Stanley Cups with in his first three seasons.
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The question for me is this a good extension right out of the gate for Anisimov? He’s going to be the long term answer for the Chicago Blackhawks at the second line center, but he’s never really tore up the stat sheet though his reputation is a solid 2-way center.
He’s played in 412 games in the NHL the most goals he’s scored is 21 in the 2013-2014 for the Columbus Blue Jackets while his best point producing season was 44 with the New York Rangers in the 2011-2012 season.
I understand that he doesn’t have to come in a light the world on fire, just look at what Antoine Vermette did in the regular season going without a goal in all 19 appearances, but of course he came up big under the biggest spotlight during the Conference and Stanley Cup Final. So can Anisimov stand the pressure that comes from winning in April, May, and June in Chicago.
The Chicago Blackhawks have been searching for an answer at the 2nd line center for almost the entire time Joel Quenneville has been the coach, and while they have found temporary fixes in Michal Handzus, Brad Richards, and Vermette none have been the long term solution.
We haven’t seen Artem Anisimov play much, but Stan Bowman and the Chicago Blackhawks scouting staff have seen him enough to hand over this big extension and the keys to the car of the 2nd line center for the Chicago Blackhawks. Hopefully he gets the Patrick Kane endorsement like he had already given Brad Richards!
What do you think of the extension?
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