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So, Where Do We Go From Here Artie?

July 8, 2011, by

A visitor on the site recently bemoaned the lack of consideration Anisimov has been getting when people discuss the Rangers core. Everyone acknowledges the Callahan’s, Dubinsky’s, Lundqvist’s, Staal’s and McDonagh’s just to name a few. Those players as well as Gaborik, Richards etc are obvious, important parts of the Rangers future. Even this summer, where people have been fretting about other teams poaching the likes of Callahan and co. with offer sheets (prior today of course) not much air time was given to the status of Anisimov. So why no (read: not enough) love for Anisimov?

This is just my personal opinion but it’s not that Anisimov doesn’t get love. Far from it, but he is a frustrating player. Before we get on to why he doesn’t get enough love let’s acknowledge what he has accomplished. Touted as a first round talent the young Russian slipped to the grateful Rangers in the second round. Since then, the young center has developed via Hartford to play a solid role on the Rangers. A solid rookie year in the AHL was followed up by an explosive second year before two solid seasons in the NHL as a Ranger led us to this off season. He has indeed, made a lot of progress for a young man.

But here’s my personal gripe regarding Anisimov. The following scouting report is a selection of scout’s comments with commentary from the report writer. It’s from an article back in Anisimov’s draft year, a few months before the talented Russian was taken in the 2006 draft;

“He dominated and I know a lot of scouts left the game saying, now I know what he can do. There’s a lot to like there but why don’t you see it every night?”…… Anisimov has loads of potential and it is easy to get seduced by his combination of skill and size…..“He is skinny and weak but he has some ability with the puck.” I’ve seen him be average and the next night he is so far above everybody else”

What is the first thing that you notice about that report? The first thing that stood out for me was the accuracy of it while the second thing was that Anisimov really hasn’t changed a great deal from that report. He is still prone to inconsistency; disappearing for stretches then wowing you with his natural talent. He is still weak on the puck and still needs to add weight/muscle to his frame to maximise his talent.

So how long is too long? At what point will Anisimov kick on and take it to another level? Do you wait and hope he becomes a genuinely top end player? Make no mistake; ‘Artie’ is already a good NHL player but there’s room for more. That’s the frustrating thing, there is room for so much more but given the time elapsed between that telling scouting report and where we are today, will we ever see more? That’s why Anisimov faces a relatively uncertain future. Derek Stepan has overtaken him in one year, Brad Richards is on the scene as the clear number one pivot and there’s plenty of young talent elsewhere in the system. Clocks ticking Artie.


  1. Walt says:

    I live near Hershey, Pa., and go see the Whale when they are in town. When Artie was with them he appeared to be slow on his skates, and lacked bulk.
    Today he still appears slow on skates, and lacks bulk. I believe watching him now, that because he is so tall, he seems slower than he is, and slimmer than guys his height. He is a talent, but given how many centers we have, he may be let go if he doesn’t improve quickly. I hate to say this but it appears that the Russians in the NHL are not quite as motivated as say the boys from up north, or American kids. Personally I like the kid, and wish him all the best, but he has to want it, and time is running short for Arty!

  2. RangerSmurf says:

    “Derek Stepan has overtaken him in one year,”

    Still disagree with this statement. Give Anisimov 64% offensive starts and the 9th hardest comp on the team, and I assure you Anisimov gives you much more than Derek did. As it is, Anisimov was more productive at even strength and on the power play.

    I love what Stepan brings to the team, but he needs to grow just as much, and needs to build on his rookie season before we start anointing him.

    Anyway, I agree that Anisimov has another gear that he needs to hit. Dubinsky/Callahan took until they were 25 to hit that gear, it would not surprise me at all if Anisimov meets or beats that pace.

    Richards-Anisimov-Stepan should be the triumverate for a while.

  3. Mikeyyyy says:

    He’s a great 3rd line center and has a good toi to point ratio.

    He does need to bulk up and be more powerful on the puck.

    But that’s if you want him as your first line center.

    Any team would love him on their 3rd line. Believe he’s the perfect foil to dubi and cally. They are the grinders he’s the finesse.

    This all goes to asking. Is he a Mack truck or a Ferrari?

    He’s got one more year in my book to put it all together.

  4. The Suit says:

    I need another season of Arty before I make a complete opinion. I think Stepan has more upside, but there is still a place on this team for AA down the road if he can get stronger, keep his head up, etc.

    With Richards, Step, Arty down the middle, our future is bright.

  5. ArtyFan says:

    Sauer signed for 2.5ml/2

  6. Section 121 says:

    I disagree with the notion that time is ticking for AA. Was time ticking for Dubi and Cally at the start of their past 2 year deals which just expired? Just because BR is here now, doesn’t change the fact that AA is definitely on an upward curve that is probably sharper than when Dubi and Cally were at this point. Let’s just relax with the expiration clock on him, it’s not necessary right now (he just turned 23).

    Also, as for his size, I don’t believe he needs to add much if anything at all. He needs to be fast on his skates and be able to get another step. He should focus on becoming faster to make guys miss him, not bulking up to have guys hit him.

    And, just as a note, AA is listed at 6’4″, 200 lbs and Staal is listed at 6’4″, 208 lbs; just saying…

    • The Suit says:

      I’ve met Arty, he’s nowhere near 200 pounds. The kid is skin and bones and he most definitely needs to put on some weight and get stronger. He gets knocked off the puck too easily for a player his size.

      Whether or not he’s on the clock has nothing to do with Cally and Dubi’s growth, they are different players. What will affect Arty’s role has more to do with his play and that of our prospects

      • Dave says:

        I don’t know about that, only Stepan can really push AA back on the depth chart, we don’t have many centers.

      • Section 121 says:

        My only question is that if teams inflate their players’ vitals, why are Staal and AA listed so close? Wouldn’t both be inflated proportionally?

  7. Matt J says:

    He’s improved every year he’s been in the league and I don’t see why he wouldn’t keep improving.

  8. Zen says:

    Artie, Artie, Artie. He is such a tremendous two-way player, but his weakness on the puck and offensive consistencies drive me mad. I worry a little bit about his intestinal fortitude, as I don’t foresee him as being a big game player who can handle the pressure. All that said, it is still only his 2nd year and he has a lot of potential. Not as much as Stepan does, though.

    It is worth noting that if a top notch LW became available at the trade deadline, he would be the guy I would be looking to package to get him.

  9. Dave says:

    I’m torn on Anisimov, I really am. I think he would be a great #2 center, but if moving him betters the team, I’m all for it.

    I think this is his breakout year though.

    • Zen says:

      Then you have to think about the fact that BR and Stepan are clearly the long term top 2 centers on this team. Do you use AA as a top 3rd line center or trade him to get an elite LW?

  10. Sioux-per-man says:

    Last year Artie stays in New York to work on his English and his conditioning. He made great strides in both area’s. For 1/2 the year he centered our best line with Cally and Dubi. So I’m going to cut him some slack, due to the shuffleing of lines last year. If he has a full year of Dubi and Cally as linemates this could be one of the best 2nd lines in the show.

    I agree with the Russians not wanting to work on conditioning as much as the Candian/US player. There style of hockey is all skill and less physical. The top draft picks are no longer coming out of Russia anymore. Their seems to be alot more Zherdev’s/Grechev’s than there are Ovechin’s/Malkin’s.
    Something tells me Artie is almost there.

  11. Sioux-per-man says:

    Coaches today like pairs. Two that can feed off each another. Cally/Dubi work, Prust/Boyle worked, hopefully Richards/Gaborik work. The 3rd player seems interchangable, for some reason. Injuries, spark needed to wake up a line, or lack of chemistry.
    It’s a process that needs to gell, or have more jam, Torts will shuffle the deck until he finds what fits for that night. That will never change 🙂

  12. HARLEMBLUES says:

    AA has more upside 2 his game than Stepan if and only if he puts N the work 2 get stronger(with the puck/in small areas on the ice).He has Nproved each year from AHL 2 NHL rookie 2 now he’s still just 23.If he continues 2 work( harder)he can reach the nxt level which we all see in him and want out of him.You don’t teach 6four 200+ with skill.2more years we will see.

  13. zach says:

    Itd be interesting to see him play the wing. Dubi didnt really breakout until he transistioned over to winger. Also, on a posative note, he did improve from his rookie season, so he is on the upward slope; I feel very optamistic about him.