Sunday, February 7, 2016

Anisimov Trade Paying Dividends For Blackhawks

When "The Man-Child", Brandon Saad, 23, was traded to Columbus, Blackhawk fans erupted with hate and sorrow.  Saad was an original draft pick of the Hawks.  He was one of the biggest contributors of two Stanley Cup Championships.  It was hard to swallow.  And who did the Hawks get in return?  A center that had been in the league six years and never really became that Top Line Center a team needed, Artem Anisimov, 27.  Also, packaged in that trade, a potentially good player in Marko Dano, 21, and a 4th Round Draft Pick.  What the hell was Stan Bowman thinking???

If you are still questioning Bowman, well, maybe you need to climb out from under the rock you have been hiding under and pay attention to what he has done for this franchise over the last six years.  But that is a story for another time.

Brandon Saad is becoming the goal scorer that everyone thought he would be in Columbus.  He currently has 35 points, 19 goals, and is on pace for 30.  He has himself a nice, big, 6 year/ $36 million contract, in which the Blackhawks were never going to be able to match.  He's young, represented Columbus in the NHL All Star Game this year, and will be a household name for years to come.

Artem Anisimov had been sought after for a long time by Bowman.  The Blackhawks had not had a solidified number two Center in forever.  He is 6'4", and a big presence in front of the net, which the Hawks haven't had since Dustin Byfuglien.  Bowman was so happy to get him, he gave him a 5 year/$22.75 million contract extension the day after he traded for him.  So how has this trade gone so far for the Blackhawks?

Well, Anisimov, in 55 games has 32 points (18G 14A), +9, and is centering two of the top five scorers in the entire NHL, Patrick Kane (76 pts.) and Artemi Panarin (52 pts.).  What he brings off of the scoresheet is a long reach to disrupt outlet passes.  He is a big body that will battle in the corners and in front of the net (just check out the traffic in front on some of Kane's and Panarin's goals).  He can play on the penalty kill unit (scored an SHG last night in Dallas).  Possibly most importantly, he speaks Russian, which Panarin speaks exclusively, as he did not speak English when brought over to the Blackhawks.  Communication between players is  crucial when working as a team unit.  You can compare points with Saad, but it would be apples and oranges.  What Anisimov has brought to the Hawks has been huge, unlike his new contract hit, which will be $4.55 mil over the next 5 years, thank you Mr. Bowman.  If you want to compare Saad to Anisimov, their salary cap hits is a huge factor (Anisimov, $4.55 mil, Saad, $6 mil).  With the talent that the Hawks have, that difference in salary is huge.

Oh and that Dano kid?  He's seen 13 games with the Hawks (1G 1A), and is playing well down with the Rockford IceHogs, 30 games, 20 points (4G 16A), +15.  No need to rush him.  We'll be seeing plenty of him in the future.

Both teams made out good and got what they wanted in this trade.  We'll miss the "Saad-Father", but we will learn to, if not already, love "Arty".  No, his nickname isn't as cool, but I'm sure a new one will blossom soon enough.


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