When the Chicago Blackhawks traded fan favorite Brandon Saad, I shed a few tears. It was always a little baffling why they’d trade a guy so young who has the potential to be one of the league’s best wingers.
Actually no, it wasn’t baffling at all — it just took me a while to accept the Hawks had no chance of matching the offer sheet for Saad and did the right thing. I, like most Hawks fans, was impressed with the Hawks landing an even younger talented forward in Marko Dano, but I think most overlooked Artem Anisimov and what he’d bring to the table.
Well, time to correct this oversight. Anisimov is essentially the perfect guy to play on a line with Patrick Kane because of his big body and two-way capability. Plus, he has more offensive skill than most realize; he’s opened the ice up for Kane to do his thing, and there’s no one more dangerous in open ice than Kane with the puck.
Anisimov is exactly what the Hawks needed as a second-line center to Jonathan Toews. He’s a guy who works hard in front of the net, does the dirty work on the forecheck, and can still defend as well as any second-line center in hockey. I don’t want to take anything away from Brad Richards, who served an important purpose for this team during the Stanley Cup run last year, but Anisimov is a huge upgrade and that can only make the team even more dangerous.
The fact that he’s been able to score 16 goals in half a season, as opposed to seven all of last year (in 50-plus games), makes him a threat. Again — it opens Kane and Artemi Panarin up. Even though I miss the “SaadFather” like crazy, this might go down as one of the best trades in recent Hawks memory as they couldn’t have found a more perfect for this group.
Stan Bowman FTW, amirite?