Apr 8, 2015; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets centerArtem Anisimov
(42) against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Nationwide Arena. The Jackets won 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Ah, the woes of the offseason! The annual Chicago Blackhawks Convention brought some excitement, but for the most part we fans have to appease ourselves with keeping an eye on all the trades. Especially after a successful Stanley Cup run, it’s not fun to have to say goodbye to so many of our favorite players. First it was Brandon Saad to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Then we heard Brad Richards went to the Detroit Red Wings, and Antoine Vermette returned to the Arizona Coyotes. And of course there was the inevitable trade of Patrick Sharp. He put in his lot with the division rival Dallas Stars. To add insult to injury, Johnny Oduya decided to follow his friend Sharpie and sign on with the Stars as well.
This is the time of year that we all have to trust in Stan Bowman’s master plan, right? I know, I’m having a hard time doing that too. But watching so many faces go also brings with it the ring of some different names. There will be new talent on the ice next season, so we might as well learn a little more about it. Last year at the convention, we all couldn’t wait to find out more about the latest second-line center named Brad Richards. This week I’d like to talk about another man that many hope will fill the second-line center void, Artem Anisimov.
Artem Anisimov was involved in a seven-player trade that dealt Saad to the Columbus Blue Jackets, and made Anisimov a Chicago Blackhawk. At the time of the trade, Anisimov was in the final year of his current contract, with a $3.28 million cap hit. But just a few days later, on July 1, the Blackhawks signed the Russian forward to a five-year extension with a $4.55 million cap hit (per CSN’s Tracey Myers).
Da Windy City
Obviously, signing Anisimov to a new deal was a top priority for the Chicago Blackhawks. Also according to Myers, Bowman had this to say about his latest acquisition: “To get this guy in the prime of his career, it’s someone we’ve been chasing for a long time. He fits in very nicely to our team. He’s able to play offensively as well as the penalty-killing role. He’s done a little of everything in his career. For our needs, to know we’ve got (Jonathan) Toews and Anisimov for years to come, that was a big part of this.”
So what more do we know about this supposed new second-line center for the Chicago Blackhawks? Well, we know that he’s a big body at 6-foot-4 and 198 lbs. He was drafted in 2006 by the New York Rangers in the second round (54th overall). His natural position is center, and he shoots left.
Artem Alekseevich Anisimov was born on May 24, 1988, in Yaroslavl, Russia. He went to hockey school in Lokomotiv, Yaroslavl, and then came over to the United States and the New York Rangers farm team when he was 19 years old. In 2008, Anisimov moved up to the NHL, where he played four years with the Rangers. He ended up with 86 goals and 192 points in 412 games with New York.
In 2012, Anisimov was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets in a deal that brought Rich Nash to the New York Rangers. He spent three seasons with the Jackets. Last season was a struggle, as he dealt with concussion issues and a torn triceps. But during his 2013-14 season, Anisimov scored a career-high 22 goals.
In 2011, a plane carrying players, coaches and staff members of Yaroslavl crashed upon takeoff, killing 37 people. Anisimov knew many of the people that were killed. During the lockout-shortened season of 2012-13, he took advantage of the opportunity to help rebuild and played for the Lokomotiv team.
The 27-year-old Anisimov is known to be quiet and easy-going. He is married to fellow Yaroslavl native Ksenia, who joined him in New York in 2009. They have a daughter, who was born in March 2014. When Anisimov first came over to the United States, he barely spoke a word of English. His first NHL coach was infamous hothead John Tortorella. Can you imagine getting screamed at and not understanding why?
It will be interesting to see how Anisimov fits in on the new Chicago Blackhawks team this upcoming season. Patrick Kane, for one, is excited about the possibilities. “He’s a big, smart, two-way forward and a left-handed shot. That’s the ideal center for someone like myself,” he said. “You see the size and he’s also got the skill, too. He could be a really dangerous fit on our team, so I’m looking forward to the chance of playing with him, if that’s the case. Hopefully we develop some chemistry as quickly as possible.”
Hang in there Blackhawks fans. Only 80 more days to go!
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