Blackhawks agree to 5-year extension with newly acquired Anisimov
The past couple days have been quite a whirlwind for Artem Anisimov. Same for the Chicago Blackhawks.
Anisimov and the Blackhawks agreed to a $22.75 million, five-year contract extension on Wednesday, one day after the Stanley Cup champions acquired the center in a seven-player deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
When the Blackhawks were unable to sign rugged forward Brandon Saad to a new deal, general manager Stan Bowman shifted gears and traded the restricted free agent, forward Alex Broadhurst and defenseman Michael Paliotta to Columbus for Anisimov, forwards Marko Dano, Jeremy Morin and Corey Tropp, and a fourth-round selection in the 2016 draft.
The 27-year-old Anisimov had seven goals and 20 assists in 52 games for the Blue Jackets last season. The contract extension begins with the 2016-17 season.
''It's a really good team, like really good talented players,'' Anisimov said. ''They play the game so well. The past six years, three Stanley Cups, it's really good. I'm really excited to join this team.''
The 6-foot-4 Anisimov gives Chicago a big center behind captain Jonathan Toews. The Russian forward has 192 points in 412 career NHL games with Columbus and the New York Rangers.
He is looking forward to playing with countryman Artemi Panarin, who agreed to a two-year contract with Chicago in May.
''I am going to help him adapt to the NHL a little bit,'' said Anisimov, a second-round pick by the Rangers in the 2006 draft. ''It's going to be good for us to have some Russians on the team.''
Bowman said he had been trying to acquire Anisimov for a while.
''I think he fits in very nicely to our team,'' Bowman said Tuesday. ''He's able to play offensively as well as the penalty-killing role. He's done a little bit of everything in his career. I think, for our needs, to know that we've got Toews and Anisimov for years to come, that was a very big part of this.''
Chicago signed another big center, 6-foot-2 Viktor Tikhonov, to a one-year contract for next season. The 27-year-old Tikhonov had 55 goals and 60 assists over 182 career games with St. Petersburg of the KHL. The Latvian played for Russia in the 2014 Olympics; his grandfather, Viktor, was the head coach of the Soviet Union national team from 1977-1994.