Artem Anisimov still isn’t playing to the level he has the ability to reach. It is this statement that makes Anisimov both frustrating and exciting at the same time. That all said, Anisimov has provided plenty of big moments for the Rangers this off season and has quietly put together a solid playoffs even if it has been punctuated with poor games and an occasional trip to Hotel ride-the-pine.
A side plot of his offseason may be how Anisimov has pushed his teammate Brandon Dubinsky further toward the exit door. Earlier this season we discussed the potential ‘play off’ between Anisimov and Dubinsky in regard to a future with the Rangers. Both are blessed with skill and ability and both have been productive Rangers yet both have often left you hoping, expecting more.
With the Rick Nash rumours and the apparent inclusion of Dubinsky in the Nash package every man and his dog is aware that inside Madison Square Garden the lust is starting to wear off of Dubi. He’s likely in play and his future is clearly tenuous. He’s not earning his Benjamin’s.
To an extent one could have argued the same about Anisimov. However, the Russian has stepped up (somewhat) this post season while Dubinsky has first been mired in an awful campaign and secondly has now had to sit and watch his teammates work towards a Cup. Dubinsky was poor in last year’s playoffs and one point in seven this time around doesn’t inspire confidence he can do it better any time soon.
Anisimov on the other hand has produced 8 points in 13 games despite being shifted all over the line up and has come up with big plays such as the assist for Chris Kreider’s goal against the Devils. Basically, Anisimov is stepping up while his teammate Dubinsky cannot. Unfortunate for Dubinsky.
There’s every chance that this summer the Rangers revisit a Rick Nash acquisition or chase Zach Parise with a Staten Island Ferry load of Jim Dolan’s cash. Failing on both counts and there’s a strong likelihood Chris Kreider’s presence in the line up next year will become even more prominent than it already might be. In short, there appears to be less room for one of the Rangers scoring forwards next summer and right now it’s Anisimov and not Dubinsky who is doing himself a favour in regard to locking up a future in NY.
The deeper the Rangers go the more likely it is that Dubinsky can get back on the ice and impact his own future, however he’s having to watch several teammates (aka the competition) increase their chances of being prominent roster parts going forward. Dubinsky will return rusty yet he’ll need to make an immediate impact, possibly on the grandest stage of them all. Thinks are looking up for the Rangers, things look promising for Anisimov. Things ain’t looking so hot for the local Alaskan.