Comparing Artem Anisimov To Antoine Vermette

On Tuesday afternoon, the Blackhawks acquired veteran center Artem Anisimov from the Columbus as part of the blockbuster trade sending Brandon Saad to the Jackets.

On Wednesday, as free agency opened across the NHL, it became clear that Anisimov would figure prominently into the Hawks center depth during the 2015-16 season. Anisimov, who has one year remaining on his current contract, signed a five-year extension with the Blackhawks.

The current salary for Anisimov, and locking him up for five additional seasons, made it apparent that the Hawks wouldn’t retain their two veteran rentals from the 2014-15 Stanley Cup championship roster. And, as contracts were announced throughout the day, those rentals found money elsewhere.

Brad Richards signed with the Detroit Red Wings for one year at $3 million, and, predictably, Antoine Vermette re-signed with the Coyotes for two years at $3.75 million per.

Some Hawks fans have already started asking why the Hawks would re-sign Anisimov when, in theory, they “could have kept Vermette.”

Before we compare the players, let’s set one thing straight. Vermette was an unrestricted free agent who was a questionable healthy scratch during these playoffs. He didn’t necessarily want to stay in Chicago; Arizona has been his home since he was traded to the Coyotes by, ironically, the Blue Jackets at the deadline in 2012.

Anisimov is a player Chicago GM Stan Bowman had an eye on for a number of years; there were whispers the Hawks had interest in him before he was traded to the Jackets as part of the deal sending Rick Nash to the Rangers in late June of 2012.

When he was acquired, Anisimov brought with him a cap hit of approximately $3.28M for the 2015-16 season. That number is almost a half million less than Vermette signed for today, a dollar amount that is crucial for a Blackhawks team may be counting pennies come October.

So beyond the immediate cap relief Anisimov brings with him, let’s now look at the players on the ice.

Columbus Blue Jackets HeadshotsArtem Anisimov
DOB: 5/24/1988
Opening Night Age: 27
6-4, 200

Last 4 years
2011-12: 79 games, 16 goals, 20 assists, 36 pts
2012-13: 36 games, 11 goals, 7 assists, 18 pts
2013-14: 81 games, 22 goals, 17 assists, 39 pts
2014-15: 52 games, 7 goals, 20 assists, 27 pts

Total: 247 games, 56 goals, 64 assists, 120 points, 48.2% faceoffs
2014-15 Salary Cap: $3.28M
2015-16 Salary Cap: $4.55M


Antoine VermetteAntoine Vermette
DOB: 7/20/1982
Opening Night Age: 33
6-1, 200

Last 4 years
2011-12: 82 games, 11 goals, 26 assists, 37 pts
2012-13: 48 games, 13 goals, 8 assists, 21 pts
2013-14: 82 games, 24 goals, 21 assists, 45 pts
2014-15: 82 games, 13 goals, 25 assists, 38 pts

Total: 294 games, 61 goals, 80 assists, 141 points, 56.3% faceoffs
2014-15 Salary Cap: $3.75M
2015-16 Salary Cap: $3.75M

From a production perspective, the difference between these two isn’t significant. In fact, Anisimov has a slightly higher point-per-game average (0.486) than than Vermette (0.479) over the last four seasons, but he missed a big part of last season with a torn triceps.

On the ice, the most significant difference between these two veteran centers is at the dot.

Vermette has been one of the better faceoff men in the game over the last decade, and showed his abilities late in the playoffs after initially struggling to find a groove in Chicago. Over the last four regular seasons, Vermette has won 3,004 0f 5,339 opportunities at the dot – an enormous number.

Anisimov, on the other hand, has shown improvement but isn’t the dominant draw artist that Vermette has been. He has won 988 of 2,048 over the last four years. However, his win percentage had increased from 46.7 to 48.9 to 49.3 in the three seasons before injuries derailed last season in Columbus.

Off the ice, the most significant difference between Anisimov and Vermette is their age. The fact that the Hawks’ new center will be six years younger than Arizona’s returning veteran is a significant move for the Hawks, who won a Cup this past season with two centers on the wrong side of 30 in Richards and Vermette.

If Anisimov can stay healthy and improves in the faceoff circle like others who have come through Chicago before him, he could be a strong addition for the next six years.

28 thoughts on “Comparing Artem Anisimov To Antoine Vermette

  1. I was an outspoken supporter of both the 91 and Vermy acquisitions as they happened last year. Glad to see it worked out so well! As such, I am also ready to embrace our new starting 2C and wait for the next shoe or 2 to drop.

    Still need to move salaries for space and for my money get 16 and 27 signed. I’m certain Stan is still planning on trading 10 and will buyout Bickell if necessary to save another $3M (my guess is that will not be necessary as someone will take him.) If plan-B includes Bickell and 23 so be it. Personally, I would feel a whole lot better with Oduya re-signed than holding onto Sharp (JO at 3 years @$4M each?)

    No matter what happens, will be a real line-blender next year as Q mixes and matches. Holy head-spinning past 2 days!

  2. A little math- moving 10, 23 and 29 opens up $12M+. Pay 16 $2.75M (x 3), pay 27 $4M (x 3), and updated Cap charts show you’d have $7M+ left to fill/pay the holes required with 9-7 players, including (and not counted):
    * Definites: Dano, Panarin, Johns and TVR (that’s $3.5)
    * + Pick your Best Options: Desi, Nordy, Denault, Baun, Morin and Tropp (each less than $1M)

    Your top-4 D is still best in league (2,4,7,27)
    Your O is a mix and match with top-6 that rivals anyone in league and 16 anchoring dominating “4th” line.

    It’s a rosy outlook on my view…

  3. Holy headscatch. Ok, well if you put it that way I see the point Tab. Thanks for this, but,…could we not have kept Saad for very close to the same as Anisimov? Of course we also got Dano but we have to pay him as well. If you look up the word enimagtic in the dictionary you will see a picture of Russian hockey players. Looking at a view from a height I do not believe the Blackhawks have gone backwards. Brave new world indeed.

  4. See my three posts from this morning’s (WED) earlier blog re: Russian center’s five year contract. This is a highly critical choice made by Bowman.

  5. Miranda….” O brave new world. That has such people in’t ” (in it)

    Prospero….” Tis new to thee”

    The Tempest Act 5 Scene 1

  6. Anisimov is 27 and with quality two way ability. Which is critical to the Quenneville style. What I am learning is that Bowman and staff have done a lot of homework on Anisimov and have followed him for quite awhile. They clearly like the transferability of his core skills to this system, and what they see has his upside and growth potential. He’s 27 years old too. I like the move and I implicitly trust the Bowman / Q analysis behind going with Anisimov. Don’t underestimate the scouting and evaluation work done here. Honestly I think they must see leadership ability on the ice too. Seems like a combo of the best parts of Dave Bolland with a raw center with core offensive skills to build upon.

  7. When Vermette was acquired I thought he should remain as a 3c and move Shaw to wing. Both Tab and Stan disagreed with me and Stan said in the presser he would be the 2c.

    I think the same is the case here. Anisimov is at great 3c. Perhaps his numbers explode with better linemates as his advanced stats suggest. Personally I think slotting Anisimov, Panarin, and Shaw on the 3rd line would get you more production overall. I don’t know if Tikhonov can produce on that line like Shaw could.

    I’d like to see if Dano could improve his faceoff numbers. He only took 37 draws and was 44%. If I remember correctly, a certain 4th line center was awful at the dot when he first crossed the pond. Spending some time with Perrault and going up against 19 and 16 certainly can’t hurt. But a line of 86-56-88…I think could be electric. With all that said, I don’t think the Hawks pay a 3rd line center 4.55 per year.

  8. We’ll see what Saad gets shortly. But if he really wanted 6.5 per then no the Hawks couldn’t have kept him. At least not this year. Anisimov’s hit is 3.283 this year. Saad wanted almost double. Maybe the loonie makes a rebound and the cap climbs and the Hawks could float 6.5. Unfortunately this is 2015 and apparently Saad wouldn’t do a bridge.

    Hawks saved 2 million. Got a position of need that is slightly below Saads offensive production. And got another versatile player that bettered Saad’s ppg production when looking at their age 20 rookie season.

    Also have to remember Dano is just figuring out North American ice.

    Signing Saad to that deal means at least Patrick Sharp and Bryan Bickell are gone. Most likely both of Versteeg and Shaw as well. And that’s just to put a team on the ice. Now the Hawks can keep Sharp and Shaw.

  9. It really IS a testament to the Blackhawks to have won 3 Stanley Cups to date under the salary cap. My goodness sit back for a moment and think of the team you would have of ex-Hawks who played at least a season for Chicago and are now elsewhere. Saad, Ladd, Bolland, Brouwer, Buff, Campbell, Leddy, Niemi…and add to that also very soon Sharp, Bickell, Versteeg, Oduya. Seriously a team of ex-Hawks in the the Cup era could go deep into the playoffs. We tend to massively underestimate the job Bowman and Quenneville have done here. Hell the great Scotty Bowman teams in NY or Detroit didn’t have to mess with the cap. Or the Edmonton dynasty team of the 1980’s.

    Mind blowing.

  10. I’ll follow Mining Man’s lead-

    What fools these armchair GM’s be… -Puck

    Saad’s agent plays hardball, railroading Bowman, and lands his client in Columbus, where the GM is reportedly committed to matching any offer sheet. Which means there will possibly be no offer sheet at all.

    Prospero- I mean Bowman-gets his long-sought-after man, and a slick NHL ready prospect.

    How could he have possibly played the hand he was dealt any better? DRAFT PICKS?!? This guy’s reloading for another Cup while his monsters are still together. Doesn’t hurt that 65 was playing top 6 caliber hockey at the end of the year.

  11. Yesterday I watched 2 Blue Jackets games from last season (@ Blackhawks, vs Capitals). Both Anisimov and Dano played. Bare in mind I’m an amateur hockey fan, so this is far from an expert look:

    Anisimov played RW against the Hawks and LW against the Capitals while switching to C at some point with line changes. He’s big, but he’s not physical. Didn’t see 1 hit (he was returning from injuries, though). He seems robotic, but what he actually does is he doesn’t waste any motions. He’s incredibly technical, both on offense (an array of passes, vision, soccer moves, baffling angles shots), on defense (big size he uses for reach with an long, active and smart stick) and on the boards (here he didn’t seem like a beast, if not With the puck…seemed to not win that many board battles, but when he did he was excellent as he protects the puck inviting 2 guys on him and then dishing some wtf wow passes). Played 1st unit PK next to Dubinsky. Never took any face-offs.

    My 2 cents: he’s a playmaker and he knows it, thinks pass first. I liked his play in the middle of the ice more than on the boards. He’s more Richards than Vermette if you ask me.

    Dano: He was playing RW (much of that time with Hartnell with whom he had great chemistry). The best way a can describe him is that he’s a Shaw with the skills of a Versteeg. He too has some slick hands, stick, impressive array of passes and shots. In 2 games he only once tried to dribble a defender 1 v 1. Tried some slick move against Carlson from the Capitals (hah). He turned it over obviously, but you always see he’s cocky like that. He likes to drive, stop, pass (saw him make 7-8 nice passes across the ice, he’s good at that), goes in front of the net a lot, has some serious hands in tight spaces. He shots and does it from all angles, but he seemed to have accuracy issues when he was putting heat on those shots. Very and I mean very responsible defensively although he made 1 huge error in 1 vs 1 defense, losing his man and giving up a A+ chance. Decent on the boards…he goes there.

    My 2 cents: A technical-pesky player with play making abilities. He’s clearly smart. He’s got an edge on him I can tell you that.

    PS: I personally liked what I saw from these 2. They didn’t seem to me like just another 2 bodies. I’m unable to tell you if they fit the Hawks system, but they do fit what I think the Hawks want in a player (keep possession, make plays, hustle back, be smart and use the stick ). I also can’t say if Anisimov could thrive with Kane. He surely wouldn’t make a fool of himself with his hand skills that’s for sure ( example: he shields Kruger -maybe- with his left hand while going towards the boards; he them streeeetches his stick right hand and puts on a one hand beauty of a pass to the point for an one timer).

  12. While i have no issue with extending AA… i wish the cap hit going forward was closer to 4.25 or 4.3. Every little bit will be needed when extending Seabs and TT…

    But i like AA. I think he will be a solid fit.

  13. AA will be 2C, book it. Dano will be a wing with this team, maybe even taking a 1st/2nd or 2nd line spot replacing 20. Seems he’s best on right side, so he either moves to LW or he’ll be moved down to 3rd w/more shuffling. If moving 10 and 29, could see:


  14. oops, forgot TT! So could also look like:
    OR…. Have plenty of who goes where options with center options including 19-AA-16-TT-Denault-65 and (I guess) Dano.

    It’s a Q blender fest.

  15. Or put another way, Hawks got two for two (Vermette) and saved potentially $5.75mm. I am happy Richards found money. I see that the old guard again has the upper hand in Detroit. Signing older veterans for pretty big money. I like Richards but $3mm plus $1mm bonus, $4mm is a lot of Cap space for him.

    Interesting question. Who would you rather have for $4mm, Richards or Bickell?

  16. Negzz, I am with you on retaining 11. Character hard nosed 4th liner, adds a lot to the team.

  17. I just joined YARDBARKER and I gotta say I’ve enjoyed these frank and informed discussions about my beloved Blackhawks. Florida is pleasant but when I go to the bar to watch the Stanley Cup finals I have to explain what hockey is, what a Blackhawk is, and why I feel it is more important than the current rerun of yesterdays golf tournament! Anyway, I will miss Saad, his star is just starting to rise. But will someone please reassure me about our Blackhawks future. For me, this the hardest part of supporting a great Dynasty. That’s right, I said Dynasty!!

  18. re: retaining 11 – have to move A LOT of bodies before you can write that paper folks. Morin, Tropp, Nordstrom, Danault, McNeill, Hartman, Tikhonov, Panarin all in line to join the lineup and they still haven’t signed Kruger or moved Bickell, Versteeg and/or Sharp. With the influx of NHL roster players from the Saad deal, there simply isn’t room – under the cap or on the roster – for Desjardins right now. I loved what he brought to the ice and think he could be a huge benefit to the PK w/ Saad leaving, but have to find space for him somehow..

  19. I’m still not buying Anisimov at 2C based on Q saying he liked TT as a center during the draft. That said, right now I’ve got lines of:


  20. Tab, I hope you’re right. I wouldn’t change those lines at all if all said players are still here. On a side note, would it be possible to add the number of comments per post to the homepage, not just in the posts themselves? Not sure how difficult that would be….but convenient for sure

  21. Agreed, 11 is a low priority at this point. If I remember correctly, the team can only have 50 active contracts. Anyone know how many the Hawks have with all their new acquisitions?? I think this is what Tab means when he says move some bodies

  22. I HOPE the delay on Kruger… is to see who/how much $$$ they move (and eat w 29,10,23)…

    also, hoping/hearing that Hawks- if they can purge 10,29, 23… are trying to retain 27.

    If SB- can pull that off- Hawks are way better than last year-imo- Doesn’t mean they will win it! But- actually – deeper/better/harder to play against!!!

    Read on another site– Blues Hitchcock state in a phone interview that the Hawks are all ready better than last year- and that is assuming -27 is gone!!!!
    I did not personally hear it… but read that is what Hitchcock said!!!

    I have to agree – assuming that Panarin- is as good as I think he will be…

  23. Nick in San Diego…Absolutely brilliant analysis on your comment…thats what this was about! Bowman is 100 light years ahead of the pack. He got his man and kept his monstors…luv it. Dam, we are going to be one heck of a good team.

  24. I, like others, didn’t see the urgency to extend Anisimov right now when there is still so much uncertainty … unless there is less uncertainty in Bowman’s plan than the rest of us know about. Usually the plea “trust me” is not one that should be followed on faith alone, but essentially that’s our position, like it or not. Hopefully we’re not here a year from now saying goodbye to Seabrook because of Anisimov’s $4.55M cap hit.

    But, the milk has been spilled, no sense caterwauling about it any longer. Anisimov is a fine player, Panarin should be dynamic, and Tikhinov should fit in well. Maybe the master plan is to make the Hawks a priority destination for the best Russian players ,,, ala daddy Bownam’s Russian-5 from his old Wings team – worked out well for them.

  25. Have to realize before the start of the 16/17 season 3 contracts won’t be here. Most likely 2 wont be here at the start of this year. Between those three contracts and Seabrook’s expiring deal you have 17.9 million and the cap most likely going up.

    You have 7 forwards currently signed through the 16/17 season, that should be on that 16/17 roster. Not including any possible promotions from Rockford. This team will always be a cap team, at least as long as 88 and 19 are here. But cap dollars for Seabrook shouldnt be an issue. Unless he pulls a Saad and wants a crazy amount

  26. I see Artem Anisimov as a guy who likes the front of the net, who’s game is at it’s best if ya want to call it best in front of the net, in traffic and he is a much bigger body. Vermette skill set is a a pure shooter /scorer who needs to be “Set up” and he can alway sfind gaps in the defense to get his shot off, but he is not a net front presence will get back to that role with Arizona.

    Vermette won more draws in the playoffs than anyone i can remember, sadly for the HAWKS who seldom win a draw clean, they where so CLEAN the draw back to our point players went past them 50% of the time. Vermette really owned the dot and THAT is his contribution, on the right line he’s dangerous.

    But again just like SAAD the hawks system does not reward or elevate these type of players but the system will elevate the game of Anisimov for sure.

    Still need a lot more . . .

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