September is upon us and the Chicago Blackhawks will begin their third title defense of the decade in just more than a month. The team kicks off training camp at Compton Family Ice Arena on the campus of Notre Dame in just a couple of weeks, putting us a step closer to the end of a whirlwind offseason. Over the next couple of weeks, Blackhawk Up will project the stats of each player on the roster, using their career averages and numbers from a year ago to analyze whether that player’s stats will be over or under the projected total.
Over/Under continues with a look at the Blackhawks’ new center, Artem Anisimov. The 27-year-old forward came over with Marko Dano (more on him later in the series), Corey Tropp and Jeremy Morin in the Brandon Saad deal. Anisimov presents plenty of value to the Blackhawks and will probably be the second center behind Jonathan Toews in the lineup.
2014-15 Actual Stats: 7 goals, 20 assists
Anisimov played in only 52 games last season, which explains his low numbers. Anisimov’s best season in Columbus came in the 2013-14 campaign, when he scored 22 goals with 17 assists for the Jackets. Anisimov hasn’t shown much of a higher ceiling in six full seasons with the New York Rangers and the Columbus Blue Jackets. His highest point total was 44 during the 2010-11 season in New York.
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2015-16 Projected Over/Under: 14 goals, 23 assists
Projecting newcomers is a difficult task because their fit within their new lineup is unknown. Anisimov has proven to be more of a playmaker than a goal scorer, as he’s accumulated more assists than goals in every season except the aforementioned 2013-14 season. Anisimov has never played with the kind of talent he will be surrounded by on the second line in Chicago. The onus won’t be on Anisimov to light the lamp, but rather to facilitate for others.
There’s no doubt Anisimov has the potential to set a career high in points in his first season with the Blackhawks. He should come close with the new talent around him. Anisimov could get off to a slow start as he establishes chemistry with his new teammates, but Anisimov should serve as a very good center on the second line for the Blackhawks. Anisimov’s presence also gives the ’Hawks depth up the middle that they haven’t experienced during the past few years.
A healthy Anisimov should prove to be an effective one as he joins the defending champions. It might not be by much, but Anisimov should hit the 40-point mark in his first season in Chicago. He won’t be Saad, but Blackhawks fans can expect to like what they see from their new center.
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