Whats wrong with Antropov?

So I have been reading all of these articles by people talking about what the leafs should do next summer and pretty much all of them list players that we should let go for next season. Every time it’s Peca, Perrault, O’Neill and….Antropov? I’m all for mixing up the team a little and seeing new faces but one of my personal favourite players this season (other than Kaberle, Sundin and Wellwood basically) was Nik Antropov. Let me tell you why….

So on of the most obvious reasons would have to be that he (along with Sundin and Ponikarovsky) dominate the boards like not a huge amount of players in the league can which is effective in wearing down other teams and is very effective in the playoffs (look at Edmonton who last year had a number of players who were good at controlling the puck along the boards).

His playmaking ablity his quite underrated, granted he only got 15 assists in 54 games but Sundin is THE playmaker on that line and he got next to no time on the powerplay which is shown by the fact that 14 of his 15 assists were on even strength. When I really feel good for my main man Antropov is when I see that Sundin got just 21 even strength assists….in 75 games. If Nik had played a full season, which continues to be a huge problem for him, he would have got 21 as well. Same goes for goals. He was 4th on the leafs in even strength goals (excluding Perrault) and if he had played a full season he probably would have come in second (behind Mats).

There are a number of other things. He was 4th on the team in plus-minus with a plus 8 rating, though he did have the benefit of playing with Sundin….except that Sundin ended a minus 2….say word?

Check out the team leaders in game winning goals….actually I’ll just tell you that excluding Perrault he’s third on the team, achieving that feat in only 54 games (he had 4 by the way, nothing spectacular…except for the leafs it is), in my opinion he very well may have led the leafs in that category if he hadn’t been injured though the same could be said for Tucker who DID lead the team and was injured for a large amount of games.

A few more stats, in 54 games he got: 75 hits, 22 blocked shots (decent for a forward especially given the leafs penalty kill style where we don’t seem to bother blocking any shots), 23 take aways….31 giveaways and he had a shooting percentage of 14.4 percent which was second on the team behind Darcy Tucker.

His statistics are eerily similar to Yanic Perrault’s and Perrault made the All-Star team so…

Look, I’m actually not saying that Antropov is an All-Star or that he should play on Sundin’s line though it may certainly seem like it. I am just saying that he is by no means a crummy player and he could be an extremely effective 2nd line player (I DO think that he is better than third line). I’m just thinking that if we could get one marquee free agent forward to play with Sundin like Smyth, Briere or Drury and another good player like Bertuzzi, Jason Blake or Gary Roberts then we could have on very good first line and a dominant second line of Wellwood in between the two towers (Ponikarovsky is the other if you don’t know hockey or the leafs). While Sundin was out to injury for 7 games Antropov got 3 goals and 4 assists, Wellwood got 3 goals and 6 assists, and Ponikarovsky got 2 goals and 4 assists. Those two could be effective with most centers so why waste Sundin on them? At the same time, why let them go? Especially Antropov who I am really talking about. I certainly see no reason and hopefully I have convinced all of you readers and Antropov haters to at least see my point and possibly even agree with me.

Sorry this was so long and I thank you for reading this but don’t you worry, Antopov is well worth your time and the leaf’s money.