Nik Antropov has always skated in the shadow of a very familiar forward named Mats Sundin throughout his career in Toronto.
Since beginning his career in 1999 as a Toronto Maple Leaf, "Big Nik" has been no stranger to growing pains. Learning Americanized hockey, for one, is very difficult for a young player coming out of Russia. With his massive size, standing at 6'6" and 230 pounds, he is expected to be a hard hitter, which is not the case with Nik.
No, he is not a rugged physical winger but rather one who uses his size to create havoc for opponents on the rink and create space for his linemates. He is a player who uses his size in a way similar to Jaromir Jagr’s puck-possession attitude.
The native of Ust-Kamenogorsk, Russia, was traded to the New York Rangers from the Toronto Maple Leafs minutes before the trade deadline. Both teams agreed that he needed a change of scenery, and the Rangers believed his high level of skill, lightning-quick hands, and big body could deliver goals. He has delivered so far and heads are turning for big Nik.
The 29-year-old Russian may not hit hard like Dustin Brown or Chris Neil. He may not score like Jaromir Jagr or Mario Lemieux. However, he is entering his prime and ready to shine on the bright lights of Broadway in front of the 18,200 fans that occupy Madison Square Garden regularly.