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.