Sunday, September 16, 2012

Jets All Out Top 25 II: #17 Nik Antropov

Nik Antropov scored the first goal Jets 2.0 history.
(Photo Courtesy Yahoo! Sports)
Nikolai Antropov, 32, C, 6'6, 245 lbs
Last Year's Ranking: #8
This Year's Ranking: #17
Difference: -9


With the largest demotion in the top 25, Nik Antropov's extremely sub-par 35 point season made him the goat in this ranking in 2012.

Though he did score the first goal in Winnipeg Jets 2.0 history, his 35 points (15 goals, 20 assists) in 69 games was the lowest career total for Antropov since the 2006-07 season when he had 33 points (18 goals, 15 assists) in 54 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs and even then his points-per-game ratio was much higher.

For Antropov, his production continued to slide in 2011-12.

After a career year in 2009-10 with 67 points (24 goals, 43 assists) in 76 games in his first season in Atlanta, he followed that up with a 41 point performance (16 goals, 25 assists) in his last season in Georgia.

In Winnipeg, Antropov played at times uninspired and sluggish.

For Jets fans, he looked like he skated slow and didn't care to backcheck much.

But with his hulking 6'6, 245 pound frame it doesn't take long to cover the ice in his long strides.

However, that is not an excuse for Antropov's lack of offensive production in 2011-12.

Brought in by former Thrasher GM Don Waddell to be a big number one centre, Antropov contributed to that philosophy in his first season and has tapered off significnatly.

One reason could be the absence of Ilya Kovalchuk, who had 31 goals with the Thrashers that season before being dealt to New Jersey.  Ever since, Antropov has not been able to replicate those numbers.

With former linemate Alexei Ponikarovsky now in the mix and probably taking the wing on Antropov's side, Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff along with head coach Claude Noel are optimistic that Antropov will regain some additional offensive punch to the lineup in a third line capacity unlike a fourth line role which Antropov was demoted to last season.

All the Jets can hope for is that Antropov finds his game this season when it does start.

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