While Dave is still harbouring some hope for this year, Jeremy and I are looking beyond it already. The draft, the future and so on…. With our obvious flaws down the middle it got me thinking of who (if anyone) on the current roster can address our needs in the spot next season.
Forget Jokinen. I held high hopes he could be an answer but he’s played himself out of any kind of contract unless he enjoys skating for a veterans minimum. Drury should be our 3rd line guy and a special teamer and Torotrella has gone on record saying he sees Dubinsky as a winger. So what now?
It leaves a rather talented kid called Artem Anisimov. Now, 10 goals and 21 points are nothing to scream about even as a rookie until you dig deeper. The kid ranks only 15th in time on ice and thats not considering Parenteau who got a second more/game. Then I thought of someone else. In 1997 a lanky kid with a similar skill set called Joe Thornton scored a meagre 7 points in 55 rookie games for Boston and we all know how he turned out (at least in the regular season…) Can AA be our Joe?
I like what I see in AA. He has good skills, is intelligent, has size and room for growth. Anyone who follows the Wolf Pack closely in the AHL knows what he can do. One of the msot frustrating things for me this year has been how Torts has deployed AA. When I see who has got the PP ice time, how guys like Jokinen chew up minutes and AA still gets 12/game I wonder whats going on. Torts should realise that ‘protecting’ AA in his 1st year might not be protecting his own job. Can AA do worse than Jokinen? I dont think so.
Anyone who saw AA’s goal in the Joe Louis in the pre season knows what this kid can do on the NHL stage. Will he get more minutes next year? I see a good 2nd line center and 50 points as possible in year 2…. If Torts allows it.
What do you all think? Can AA help address the Rangers center issue next year? He’d be a cheap option….