Sunday, May 8, 2011

The NYR Facts Of Life: #42 Artem Anisimov

For each player who suited up in a Blueshirt this season we will take the good, we will take the bad and take them both and see what we have. And this time around we started with the high numbers and are up to #42, Artem Anisimov.

#42's #s: 82 games, 18 goals, 26 assists, +3, 20 PIM (5 playoff games, one goal, no assists, +2, no PIM).

Take the good: Arty did not go through a sophomore slump. He put up 16 more points, 29 more hits and 66 more shots then he did during his rookie campaign. When he was assertive, he really was quite impressive. He showed off his talent time and time again. His overtime game-winner against Buffalo back in November was a beaut, as was this delightful tally against Pittsburgh. Formed good chemistry with Callahan and Dubinsky to give the Rangers a solid home-grown line and satisfying all of us who have waited for so very long to see blue blood back in Blueshirts.

Take the bad: Arty wasn't that assertive nearly often enough. As with his rookie season, he played his best when he skated alongside other players willing to do the heavy lifting - first Shelley/Prust, then Dubi/Cally. When Cally went down with injury, Arty went with him. The Russian youngster was easily marginalized by physical opposition. He was all too willing to play on the perimeter. Just eight of his 44 points came on the power play despite seeing an average of 1:47 of ice time with the man advantage on the season.

Take them both and then we have: Anisimov seems to have the desire to be better and to contribute more but not the willingness to pay the price to do it. If he adds 15 pounds of muscle and more maturity he really could be a star. But we are getting to the crossroads of his development - is he going to grow into a Mats Sundin-type impact player or will he end up like Viktor Kozlov - capable but unextraordinary?

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