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The Team: Artem Anisimov

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets


The year that was…

When Artem Anisimov was acquired from the New York Rangers in July 2012 as part of the Rick Nash trade, former Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson felt like he had the potential to be a solid, two-way contributor.

He was absolutely correct.

Anisimov was only 24 years old at the time of that blockbuster deal, and in the two years since, he has taken major steps forward, becoming a responsible center who can play up and down the lineup with no issue. Todd Richards knows he has the “Swiss Army knife” ability with Anisimov, and really, you can say that every Blue Jackets forward has taken a shift with big No. 42.

At 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds,

Click the photo for Artem Anisimov's 2013-14 "season in photos" gallery.

Anisimov is a big, lanky center with the hockey acumen to play any role asked of him. The Blue Jackets have used him a lot since his arrival, and yet, they believe he has still plenty more to give. After a Blue Jackets victory over the Dallas Stars on Mar. 4 in which Anisimov played a starring role, this was Richards’ assessment: “Right now he might be as good as we’ve seen him play in a Columbus uniform. Two huge goals for us — especially the last one with the way the game was going. I’m repetitive when I talk about him; he’s a trustworthy guy, and you’re starting to see the skill that he has. He’s starting to finish.”

Where is he now?

Anisimov was (and will be) a heavily-relied upon player at even strength, as well; his Corsi For (CF%) was 50.5 in 2013-14 and one of his most consistent line mates, Nick Foligno, boasted a strong CF% of 51.1. What does that mean? It means that when Anisimov is on the ice, he’s generating more shot attempts (and thus, puck possession) than yielding against. Anisimov scored 16 of his 22 goals in 2013-14 at even strength, and has also become a go-to player while shorthanded.

BlueJackets.com’s projected line combination: Calvert - Anisimov – Foligno

Outlook

Not much is expected to change for Anisimov in 2014-15. He figures prominently in the Blue Jackets’ forward group and will likely see time on all three top lines at some point, as he’s done the past two seasons. Can he take yet another step forward and boost his point production? The Blue Jackets certainly hope so, as Anisimov has increased his goal output from 16 in 79 games (2011-12 with New York) to 11 in 35 games (with Columbus in lockout-shortned 2013 season) to 22 in 79 games this past season. If there’s one area where Anisimov could stand to improve, it would be his distribution of the puck. He’s shown he can finish, most notably in 2013-14, but Anisimov has never topped the 26 assists he posted in 2010-11. In his two seasons with Columbus, Anisimov has assist totals of seven and 17.

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