Yesterday Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy tweeted out to hockey fans “Which player in your favorite team’s organization was given up on too fast”. Or something like that. I don’t know, I’m honestly too lazy to go back and look. But that was the basic question.
Anyway, my answer was Artem Anisimov, but after I thought about it, the answer has to be Marc Savard. I will say though I think it’s fair if we differentiate the two because Savard started his career at a different time than Anisimov, and both players came into very different organizations. So, here are my two cents about each player.
Marc Savard came into the Rangers in the 1997-98 just after Mark Messier left, and Wayne Gretzky was now the leader in name with Brian Leetch wearing the actual C, and Adam Graves still apart of the core of the team for basically his last 2 decent years of hockey. The Rangers were a mess. Remember this was also the summer Joe Sakic didn’t come from Colorado because the Avs ended up matching the offer sheet in the end. Oh and Alexei Kovalev was still around.
So the Rangers were desperate for bodies that season and what else to do than call up the team’s third round pick in 95′ that dominated the AHL the season before. Savard played a little bit with Gretzky that first season and showed some promise. His level of play that year did not reflect his numbers. Everyone knew he was on the rise.
Then 98-99 rolls around, and Savard broke out offensively on a terrible Rangers team. Everyone saw he had potential, he just needed some more time on the ice, and some better players around him. But no that never happened. Instead he was shipped to Calgary in a deal that swapped first rounders and basically only brought Jan Hlavac and later draft bust Jamie Lundmark to New York.
Savard’s first season with the Flames ended up with him being 2nd Jarome Iginla on the team in terms of scoring. He was Jarome’s center on the team. Then, next season he scored 65 points with the team. He was out of Calgary in two years time and then proceeded to become a point per game player on the Thrashers and Bruins that we’re familiar with today.
I guess you could say the Rangers and Flames both gave up on Savard too early.
Then there’s Anisimov. He was coming along very nicely but was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Vigneault would have been a perfect coach for Anisimov because importantly under Vigneault, Anisimov would get a fresh start. Tortorella was inconsistent with his treatment with Anisimov much to my behest. I also think Rangers fans as well as Tortorella never appreciated Artie’s defensive contributions.
Artem Anisimov was not trade bait on the Rangers. Unless someone came in with a pretty big offer Sather wasn’t trading Anisimov. Then Sather started to salivate over Rick Nash and thus Anisimov had to go, because we wouldn’t be able to pay Anisimov his next contract with Nash on the team anyway. That’s why I say he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Anisimov is coming along nicely in Columbus and has been on fire his last few games. Sounds similar to Marc Savard if you ask me. Let’s hope we don’t regret it like we do Savard.
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