This week, the Eastern Edge takes a look at three Eastern Conference players who might be flying a little under the radar in your leagues.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have three wins and only one loss over their last four games. One of the reasons for this is Artem Anisimov. The 25-year-old center started the year with only a single point over his first five matches, but has turned it around with six points over the next six contests.
So what, you ask? This is a guy who recorded 37 goals and 81 points in 80 AHL games as a 20-year-old. In his last two campaigns with the New York Rangers, Anisimov averaged 40 points per season. Last year, he recorded 18 points in 35 games, which neatly pro-rates to 42 points over an 82 game schedule.
Many of us have been waiting for the lanky Russian to break out since that 81 point AHL effort. The reason you should be taking notice is that this year, he is receiving top power play minutes over and above his top six gig. Anisimov receives an average of 17:51 minutes per game, only Brandon Dubinsky receives more amongst Blue Jacket forwards. He also averages 2:55 minutes per match with the man advantage. Prior to this season, he’s never received better than second unit or mop-up duty on the power play.
Over his last three games, Anisimov has spent the vast majority of time with Nick Foligno and Marian Gaborik. This guy does have the ability to average a point per game in the NHL. Barring injury, 60-65 points should be considered the top end for this season, but after that, he could challenge 75 or even 80 points if everything falls into place.
Talk about a forgotten guy on the Washington Capitals. Troy Brouwer definitely flies under the radar in the U.S. capitol. That can work in your favour, especially when he only has three points, all goals, in 11 games so far this season. Heading into last night’s game, Brouwer received 18:44 minutes of overall ice time per game, behind only Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom amongst Caps forwards. The real reason I am still buying on Brouwer is that he is averaging 3:05 minutes with the man advantage. Over his last five games, he has twice played more than 20 minutes and once nearly 19 and a half minutes.
His linemates haven’t been world-beaters, 55 percent of his even-st