With the Traverse City prospect tournament in six weeks, we are getting closer to the drop of the puck to inaugurate the 2008-2009 season. As a hardcore hockey fan, the summer has to be the absolute worst time of year.
In order to pass the time, I thought it would be a unique concept to give you my analysis on the Rangers' prospects one by one until the Traverse City tournament. Keep in mind that I am not writing about each prospect in any particular order.
For my first installment of "Prospect Profiles", I give my opinion on Russian prospect Artem Anisimov.
As a junior player, Anisimov played for Lokamotiv of the then Russian Super League. In those days, he showed promise of one day becoming a great center, although he saw limited action during this time.
Widely regarded as a first round talent, the Rangers were able to grab him in the second round at 54th overall in the 2006 NHL Draft due to the lack of a transfer agreement.
However, all of these fears were quelled when he announced that he intended to come to play in North America as soon as possible. A year later, he is a member of the Hartford Wolfpack as a top six forward and one of the most interesting Rangers prospects.
In one season of AHL action, he scored 16 goals and added 27 assists for 43 points in his first season of the AHL as the youngest player in the league. He has shown that he is a reliable two-way center andhas drawn comparisons to Sergei Federov and Keith Primeau by some Ranger fans.
In my mind, he is going to be an excellent third line center or a good second line center. Tom Renney says that the only thing holding Anisimov back from a roster spot this upcoming season is his particularly thin frame. At 6'4" and 190 pounds, Artem has a little bit of growing to do to fill out a potentially big frame so he can dish out and take NHL level punishment.
With the acquisition of Zherdev and the possibility of Cherepanov coming to New York sooner rather than later, I certainly have high hopes for the mini Red Army the Rangers have assembled.
What do you all think? How do you think Artem will pan out? A profile on another prospect will be up in the very near future, so be sure to keep an eye out for that.