The Chicago Blackhawks are going to look different in quite a few ways next season, and that’s definitely true down the middle.
Of course, Jonathan Toews stands as the No. 1 center, but thinks get interesting after that. Head coach Joel Quenneville indicated that Artem Anisimov will take the second spot while Teuvo Teravainen is expected to slide from the wing to a third-line center role, as the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Boasting considerable size and a change-of-pace style compared to recent second-line centers in Chicago (he certainly won’t be confused for Brad Richards), Anisimov should make for an awfully interesting fit.
Patrick Kane indicated on Friday that he’s excited to line up with the towering pivot.
“He’s a big, smart, two-way centerman, a left-handed shot,” Kane said, according to the Sun-Times. “That’s kind of the ideal center for someone like myself. He’s also got the skill, too. He could be a really dangerous fit on our team. So I’m looking forward to the chance of playing with him, if that’s the case.”
Second City Hockey points out that the Blackhawks have been hoping to plug someone like Anisimov, 27, into that second-line spot for some time.
After the Hawks sorted through a number of options last season, eventually giving up a first-round pick to rent Antoine Vermette, Anisimov can be the big (6’4, 198 pounds) center who eats minutes and plays the two-way game that coach Joel Quenneville craves. He’s not a flashy scorer, but certainly brings a change of pace from many of the team’s other options, including [Marko] Dano.
It’s been a turbulent offseason for Chicago, but this franchise has weathered storms and changes before. Blackhawks management might just seem ahead of the curve – again – if players like Anisimov and Teravainen really take off going forward.