Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Jets All Out Top 25: #8 Nik Antropov

Nik Antropov, 31, Right Wing, 6'6, 240 lbs
Last Year's Rating: N/A This Year's Rating: #8 Difference: N/A

As a former first round pick, Nik Antropov brings size and skill to the Jets organization.

Selected tenth overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, Antropov was seen as a big part of the Leafs future as they were building up their system in the late 90s.

His rookie season of 1999-2000 saw him collect 30 points (12 goals, 18 assists) in 66 games. Throughout his first few seasons with the Leafs, Antropov struggled with injury problems, only playing in 52 games in his second season and he split time in 2001-02 between the AHL St. John's Maple Leafs and the big club.

In 2002-03, he had a good comeback season, playing in 72 games, collecting 45 points (16 goals, 29 assists). He would spend nine season in Toronto, his best season with the Leafs was in 2007-08, when he scored 56 points (26 goals, 30 assists) in 72 games.

Antropov was traded to the New York Rangers at the trade deadline in 2008-09 and scored 13 points in 18 games, before collecting three points in seven playoff games.

In the summer of 2009, Antropov signed a four-year, $16.25 million deal with the Atlanta Thrashers and had a career year right away in 2009-10, scoring 67 points (24 goals, 43 assists), playing alongside Ilya Kovalchuk.

Last season, Antropov had a decline in production, scoring under 50 points for the first time since 2006-07, with 41 points (16 goals, 25 assists) in 76 games.

In Winnipeg, Antropov will be relied upon to bring his size and skill to the Jets lineup and make a difference as he did in his first season in Atlanta. If he can help the production of Evander Kane or Bryan Little, Antropov could be a 50-60 point producer for the Jets this season.

Though a former first round pick, he has 412 points (172 goals, 240 assists) in 679 career NHL regular games, along with eight points in 35 playoff games. He may also be relied upon for leadership in the young Jets dressing room as one of the most experienced players on the roster.

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