The Chicago Blackhawks and center Artem Anisimov have agreed to a five-year, $22.75 million contract extension, reports Chris Johnston of Sportsnet. The deal will start in 2016-17 with an average annual cap hit of $4.55 million and run through the 2020-21 season.
The deal is now official.
Anisimov, 27, was acquired by the Blackhawks on Tuesday as part of the seven-player trade that sent Brandon Saad to the Columbus Blue Jackets. GM Stan Bowman said following the trade that Anisimov was "a player that we have been trying to acquire for quite some time," and now he's going to be with the team for the foreseeable future.
A big (6'4, 198 pounds) center who should slot in on the second line behind Jonathan Toews, Anisimov gives the Blackhawks a change of pace from the past few seasons, where the position was often rotated between young players like Andrew Shaw and aging veterans like Brad Richards.
Last season, Anisimov recorded seven goals and 27 points in 52 games, missing significant time due to a triceps injury. He's been more productive in the past, recording a career-high 22 goals in 2013-14, and should benefit from playing next to the likes of Patrick Kane on the second line.
Anisimov should also help the transition of young Russian forward Artemi Panarin, who is expected to join the Hawks next fall. Having a fellow Russian like Anisimov in the locker room should make it that much more welcoming for the 23-year-old as he tries to establish himself in the NHL.
For the 2015-16 season, Anisimov will receive $3.3 million in the last year of his current deal. The $4.55 million cap hit -- which is probably a tad higher than we would've preferred -- will go into effect starting in 2016-17.