Maxim Afinogenov gets tryout with Thrashers(Updated!)

article_11315_2(courtesy of The Hockey News)

Former Buffalo Sabres RW Maxim Afinogenov has been invited by the Atlanta Thrashers for a tryout with the team. While this isn’t exactly breaking news since he was invited back on the 17th we are currently getting ready for some big changes to the site which has put our number one priority on the back burner.

Afinogenov spent most of the off-season in his hometown of Moscow preparing for the Russian National Team training camp with his former club Dynamo Moscow. He even took part in a fan appreciation day with Dynamo against their fans.

With rumors that Atlanta had gone after former ranger Nikolai Zherdev before his move to Atlant Moscow Oblast it appears that Afinogenov might be his replacement. It is possible that fellow countryman and captain Ilya Kovalchuk recommended Afinogenov as he was vocal in the signing of Nik Antropov earlier in the summer.

With Atlanta trying to do everything in their power to keep Kovalchuk who is entering the last year of his contract they might offer a deal to Afinogenov to appease the former Spartak Moscow standout.

Afinogenov spent most of last year on the injured list and but did however lead the Sabres in scoring in 2005-06 with 73 points. GM Don Waddell said of the recently turned 30-year-old “He’s a high-end guy, a skill guy, it doesn’t hurt. We’ll see what happens.”

In 569 NHL games he has 134 goals, 200 assists for 334 points. However his tendency to get injured has not helped him find a team since he became a free agent. If the Thrashers do not extend an offer it is highly plausible the speedy winger would return to Russia and most likely Dynamo to finish off his career that has seen goals such as this one below.

Day after this intial post Afinogenov signed a one-year contract worth $800,000.

Nik Antropov signs with Atlanta

article_25489_2(courtesy of The Hockey News)

On Thursday, Nikolai Aleksandrovich Antropov signed a four-year $16 million deal with the Atlanta Thrashers after being rented by the New York Rangers on the trade deadline. The 29-year-old native of Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan had spent his entire career with the Toronto Maple Leafs before being traded away by newly appointed GM Brain Burke who publicly stated the 6’6 winger was on his way out.

In 527 NHL games Big Nik has 132 goals, 172 assists for a total of 304 points not to mention 483 penalty minutes. He is a +53 for his career. Antropov’s fate was pretty much set when Rangers GM Glen Sather stated that his chance of returning to the blueshirts was a snowball’s chance in hell as his asking price was deemed too high.

Antropov joins Ilya Kovalchuk and Slava Kozlov as the latest Russian speaking player to don a Thrashers uniform. It is understood that Kovalchuk was very vocal about obtaining Antropov as the two played together with Ak Bars Kazan during the lockout in 2005.

Big Nik headed to Big Apple, Kalinin to the desert


courtesy of the Hockey News and Getty.
Wednesday’s trade deadline saw the Toronto Maple Leafs send Nik Antropov to the New York Rangers for a 2009 draft pick as well as a conditional pick in 2010. Antropov, who was excluded from Tuesday’s loss to the New Jersey Devils in anticipation of a move, will feature in the Rangers dismal power play as his 6’6 frame will help up front. The 29-year old Antropov is in the final year of a two-year contract and is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st. It will be just his second club in his nine-year career. With his addition to the Rangers roster he is tied with Scott Gomez for second most points this year, one shy of Nikoali Zherdev.

He could also possibly center Zherdev. Coaches often believe fellow countrymen or a common language can have a great chemistry, which may be the case here. While Antropov is from Kazakhstan and Zherdev, Ukraine, both have played in Russia. Antropov should feature in tomorrow’s game against the New York Islanders but his debut may be overshadowed by the return of super pest Sean Avery.

The Rangers also made another trade later in the day to acquire defensemen Derrek Morris from Phoenix for Dimitri Kalinin, Petr Prucha, and Nigel Dawes. The 28-year-old Kalinin, a Chelyabinsk native, only registered 1 goal and 12 assists in through 58 games.

Under 24 hours until NHL trade deadline

Antropov

Photo Courtesy of SportsNet.ca

It’s beginning  to look a lot like Christmas, that is if Christmas came in early March every year. What does this deadline hold? Will it be lackluster or full of block busters?  Nothing is for certain but one can speculate.  Among the names mentioned throughout the previous weeks none hit closer to the motherland than Toronto’s Nik Antropov.

The 29-year-old winger has spent his entire NHL career with the Leafs putting up 291 points in 509 career games. However the injury plauged 6’6 Antropov might have seen his last days with the lowly Leafs as he was not featured in tonight’s line-up against the New Jersey Devils.  He along with Dominic Moore are expected to be shipped out of Leaf Nation by tomorrow’s 3 P.M. deadline.

While no source is too credible in this day and age, Yahoo’s Greg Wyshynski gives potential landing spots for Antropov including Pittsburgh, Chicago, Columbus, and Dallas. Some say the Devils are also interested in a big center which Antropov can step into if called upon. However this is nothing more than wishful thinking as both coach Brent Sutter and GM Lou Lameriollo have stated their sanctification with the current roster.

Where will Big Nik land come tomorrow? Only time will tell.