Sticking up for Big Nik

There have been a lot of rumors floating around about Nik Antropov being shopped (to Detroit, Chicago…) and so many people believe he is useless. I disagree.Yes it would be nice to sign Anson Carter. But why would you trade a guy like Nik who should be playing on one of the top two lines for the leafs next season, with all his size and skill.

I know, I know, he has limited speed. Actually he’s faster than most people think, and he’s shown that. Anyone who has actually watched this guy closely and watched him play the way he can *when healthy* can see that he is a talented top line player, suitable for Mats Sundin’s right wing, and a capable 20 goal and 60 point man.

During the leafs winning streak at the end of last season, next to Aubin, Mats and Kaberle, Antropov was without question the best Leaf. Flying into the corners, throwing hits, fishing out loose pucks, scoring goals and making outstanding passes to Poni and Sundin.

My only problem with him is that he is injury prone which has taken a toll on his production over the years. Pat Quinn said at one point last season, every time he starts playing really well he finds a way to get hurt and then he has to start all over again. Which is so true. During the run at the end of last season Nik proved this true again when he got hurt the second last game of the year vs. Buffalo and didn’t return. Coincidentaly the Leafs lost in regulation time that night for the first time in 13 games.

My other problem with Antropov is that he enjoys passing too much, and is always looking to make a pretty play, all the while he has arguably the best shot on the team which he has proven time and time again, but he doesn’t use it enough. Hopefully Maurice recognizes this during preseason and gets Antropov to use that cannon of his.

For those of you who are blind to fact that he performs highlight reel plays go to youtube.com and type antropov. It doesn’t have all his best plays from last year but a few of them. And watch “Sundin’s six point night” to see Antropov fly into the corner to throw the puck out front to Mats for Sundin’s 4th goal of the game and Antropov’s 3rd point including a 2nd period one timer goal.

That’s all I have to say about that for now.


58 Responses to Sticking up for Big Nik

  1. mojo19 says:

    is it coincidence that the one guy Antropov plays the most with (Ponikarovsky) is also at the top of the team in +/- ? Clearly he doesn’t “only get those (stats) from linemates.” Poni and Antropov play a solid postional game and have potential for good offensive seasons too.

  2. 92-93 says:

    GOOD ARTICLE.

    some leaf fans just cant get over the fact he was a first rounder and didnt pan out.

    but if we are talking about 2006 – and we are – antropov for one million, one season, considering that his bad seasons see him put up a point-per-two games and considering he is playing for his first nhl coach not named pat quinn…

    why give up on him now or call him anything BUT a bargain.

    Antropov has this year to play well and not be injured under maurice. if it works great and all of you antropov bashers out there will be put to shame. if it doesnt, fine – he gets traded for a low-round draft pick or let go at the end of the year.

    big deal.

  3. 92-93 says:

    as for the Carter situation, i think the leafs are fine up front for now.

    Carter is not worth 3 million a year but if the leafs were to sign him for 2.5 million or less for 2 years or less that would be cool too.

    that means of course that Telly and Antropov are goners.

    right now i like how lean our lines are (and lean could certainly be used a negative term but i want to use it as a positive term).

    more interesting is the possibility of Dumont – who is 4 years younger than Carter. No, Dumont won’t be coming to the leafs but it would be a good scenario for the buds i believe. I would much rather replace the 26 year old winger Antropov with a 28 year old Dumont.

    in any case, i think the leafs are done. the only question and hope for leaf fans now is how long will it be until Hal Gill is traded? hehehe.

    assuming that Coliacovo is in the top-4 in the leafs D and that White or Bell are in the #6 D-spot beside gill, my hope is that the likes of Kronvall and Harrison will play a few games in place of an injured Leaf D-guy (not named Coliacovo, Kubina, McCabe, White/Bell, Kaberle) and show that they can play better than Gill.. thus, at the deadline or sooner, the leafs deal Gill and his 2.1 million salary and have a more reliable, younger, mobile D and more space under the cap.

    that is my hope.

    i am also looking forward to seeing what Pohl can do on the 4th line RW spot, and what Williams (or Suglobov) can do.

    man, i cant wait for this year to begin!!!!!

  4. mojo19 says:

    You think Bell over Kronvall, Joe?

    And about Hal Gill, I guess we’ll see what happens. One thing about him is that he should be a solid postional guy tying his guy up in front of the net and in the corners, making him a solid guy to have out there on the PK and in his own end all the time. But a 3 year deal was a mistake.

  5. 92-93 says:

    well, i dont really compare Bell and Kronvall. I see Bell as having more offensive potential, but he probably wont make the team considering the offensive talents of colliacovo and White. i think Kronvall (and Harrison) has a better chance of making the team as a #6 D-guy … but it all depends on injuries and their training camp.

    Gill’s abilities on the PK are fine. but not worth 2.1 million, not worth 3 million, and not worth taking a roster spot from the numerous kids that the leafs have that could probably do just as good a job as Gill, without Gill’s size. From what i saw in boston, Gill doesnt even use his size that well and it slows him down too.

    for a brief moment, i’ll be one of those ‘this-is-what-JFJ-should-have-done’ guys:

    JFJ got rid of all the right guys – Berg (retired), Khavanov, Richardson.

    JFJ should NOT have signed Kubina – redundant offensive defensemen – and certainly not for 5 million and 4 years. i’ve already stated my opinion on Gill.

    so, 7.1 million back on the table. JFJ should have signed McKee for the 4 million he got in St. Louis and for about 3 or 4 years (McKee isnt worth that much, but then again, he is the shot block king. also, Mckee made comments about coming to toronto but his agent said that the leafs werent interested because of which hand he shot the puck with).

    the leafs – to satisfy that urge for an unnecessary offensive defenseman – should have signed Markov – who got 2 million in Detroit i believe – for one year. he’s abrasive, and yes, sometimes injury-prone.

    so the leafs have what they NEED – a shot blocker, solid top-4 D-guy – and some sandpaper. they have an additional 1 million on the table to sign a guy like Dumont or Carter (if they wanted to), and trade Antropov/Telly.

    they have a better defence, and have about 14 million tied up in their three top Defenseman.

    OR, JFJ could have just got McKee and that’s it and focus on the forward lines. that’s all the leafs needed IMO, but instead they loaded themseleves with defensemen they didnt need and paid too much for.

    is the leafs’ D improved? sure.

    but its marginally better and way more expensive.

    i feel sorry for the next GM in toronto.

  6. mojo19 says:

    For the most part, I agree with you. But I hope Kubina shines this year. And if Kaberle, Kubina, and McCabe all put up good numbers from the blueline, theres something to be said about having the highest scoring defense core in the league, something opposing teams can’t really defend against in the same way they can cover forwards.

  7. 92-93 says:

    i am really hoping that i will have to eat my words at the end of the season and Kubina does really well, etc.

    but i dont think i will be eating my words.

    i think, in contrast to my negative views on Gill and Kubina, i have a very positive view of the leafs offense because of the firepower they have from the blueline (and i was fine with pre-Kubina firepower, i liked Coliacovo, McCabe, White, Kaberle and their offensive talents).

    people are putting way too much emphasis on a lack of offense this year, but the leafs will be fine there.

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