I’m not going to lie, Artem Anisimov right now is one of my favorite Rangers. He is still adjusting a bit to the North American style of play but you know he is trying to improve year in and year out. Last season I thought he was the team’s best defensive forward. His offense is still lacking and he does have his cold streaks but you know eventually he’s going to put it all together. The only question is when.
Personally I think Anisimov eventually puts it together. His biggest comparable I draw to him is actually our very own Rangers captain Ryan Callahan. When Callahan first came to New York people saw after his first few games that he can maybe make it at the NHL level and become a top 9 kind of player over time and maybe even a top 6 player. After three full seasons with ok results people were becoming worried that maybe his scoring touch will never become anything special.
Callahan was around 24 and personally I thought he’d never be anything more than a 15-20 goal guy in the NHL. He’d be a very good third line player but never a top 6 guy because his scoring wasn’t there. Suddenly the 2010-11 season rolls around. It seems like over night Callahan became a bigger offensive threat putting up 23 goals and 48 points in only 60 games. All of which were career highs. He then followed that up with a 29 goal campaign and 54 points in 76 games.
Why did I just write all that? Because that’s what I think ends up happening to Anisimov. I think either this year or next year he ends up breaking out and becomes a legitimate offensive threat on this team. I don’t think this is a “what you’ll see is what you get” thing from Anisimov. Anisimov in his first three full seasons has had 108 points in 243 games while Callahan in his first three full seasons put up 90 points in 210 games. Their point production through their first three years are practically the same with Anisimov registering a 0.44 points per game, while Callahan putting up 0.42 points per game.
Point is the Rangers should wait for Artem Anisimov to break out. I think it’ll be worth it in the end.
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