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Their Emblems Built of Garbage – ’18-’19 Blackhawks Player Previews: Artem Anisimov

For the last six months, pretty much any time I’ve thought about Artem Anisimov I’ve thought of the word trade along with him. Obviously this is what I decided I wanted to have happen and now I’m fixated on it. But it isn’t just me who’s stuck on this idea. I mean, come on—a 3rd line center (at best) for 4.5 million a year? A guy whose assists halved last year from the year before? A guy whose xGF% is 45.6%, meaning that the Hawks are more likely to have a goal scored against them when he’s on the ice than they are likely to score with him on the ice? At that price? But hey, this is the Hawks and no one can try to polish a turd longer than they can!

2017-18 Stats

72 GP – 20 G – 11 A

49.9 CF% – 52.8 oZS% – 47.2 dZS%

16:47 Avg. TOI

A Brief History. Once it became clear that the Hawks were going nowhere last year and that their blue line was absolute shit, people began salivating over the idea of unloading Anisimov’s contract to make cap space. But ‘ole Wide Dick hung around (for those of you who may not recall, he got the nickname Wide Dick Arty via a podcast last year when his skating style was described as looking like his dick was getting in the way…I don’t know how you guys walk around with those things). And he wasn’t completely useless, but with the development of Nick Schmaltz into a 2C Anisimov fell down the depth chart. Pat and Eddie never tired of extolling his ability to park his ass (and dick too, I suppose) in front of the net, and lo, he did score 11 power play goals, thanks to his ability to position himself there for garbage pickup. Given how wretched the power play was, this is not to be overlooked—but it’s still too much to pay for, when instead the Hawks should have a functioning power play that doesn’t solely rely on the elusive and overrated Annette Frontpresence.

It Was the Best of Times. I’d like to say the best-case scenario is they that trade Anisimov as part of a package for someone more useful, but unless it’s a trade deadline move that at this point I cannot divine what it would be, it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen. We’re rolling into this season with this lineup, like it or not. And if no team has been dumb enough to take his contract yet, so why would they do so now? No, the best-case scenario here that Anisimov can be on the second power play unit and continue scoring some garbage goals, and that he’s mildly useful either in the 3 or 4C spot, depending on how Marcus Kruger bounces back (or doesn’t). Not fucking up royally is about the best outcome here.

It Was the BLURST of Times. What would be the worst situation? Wow, let’s just let our minds wander…he’s on the second line, he’s moved to wing, Schmaltz is hurt and he’s just so slow I DON’T WANT TO I DON’T LIKE IT. The worst-case scenario is really that Anisimov gets a lot of playing time anywhere other than the third line. And that better players get stuck with him (again, Top Cat is NOT a third-liner).

Prediction. Most likely, Wide Dick has a repeat performance from last year. He’s the 3C, with Kruger handling the main defensive duties for the bottom two centers, he’s got a rotating cast of wingers, including EggShell, Kampf, maybe Chris Kunitz, depending on how it all shakes out. Arty scores around 20 goals (probably a little less), half of which come on the power play as he parks his ass in front of the net (when he can skate that far) and gets lucky occasionally. He doesn’t bring much value to the team and his cap space would be better used elsewhere, but he doesn’t actively pour gasoline on the tire fire, either. He’s not even supposed to BE here today anyway.

Previous Player Previews

Corey Crawford

Cam Ward

Duncan Keith

Connor Murphy

Brent Seabrook

Brandon Manning

Jan Rutta

Erik Gustafsson

Henri Jokiharju

Nick Schmaltz

Alex DeBrincat

Chris Kunitz

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