Do the Pens need Antropov?

First a quick guessing game.

Who is each of these players?

Player GP G A PTS +/- PIM Hits Career Games Career G Career A Career Pts Stanley Cups
Player A 39 11 10 21 7 32 54 571 134 126 260 1
Player B 55 17 22 39 -15 20 67 501 121 163 284 0

Player A’s career high in goals is 26.
Player B’s career high in goals is 26.

Player A’s career high in hits is 136.
Player B’s career high in hits is 102.

Player A is Ruslan Fedotenko.
Player B is Nik Antropov.

Fedotenko projected for 55 games would have 15 G 14 A at his current pace. He had been really clicking until he got hurt so that is a conservative estimate.

Mark Madden had this to say on his radio show today about Nik Antropov, “Nik Antropov is 6’ 6” but plays like he is 5’ 6”.”

Hyperbole? Yes. But his point is that much like Hal Gill, Antropov does not use his size in the physical game. The Penguins are lacking in the physicality department and Antropov, while big, is not the solution to that problem.

The Leafs do not want Antropov around anymore. The Leaf fans have not wanted Antropov for a few years now. He is slow. He is lazy. He is soff.

Ron Wilson, coach of the Leafs, is a blue collar coach. He always has his players playing hard regardless of skill. He had the Leafs playing above their skill level for half the season. Antropov is still viewed as lazy by management and fans.

GM Brian Burke hates lazy players. He builds teams around tough N. American players (see: Ducks, Anaheim). Antropov is from Kazakhstan. Not N. American. Not tough. He even said this about Antropov:

“From my take, at this point, I don’t see any reason to put a new contract offer on the table here,” Burke told AM 640. “I think that this might be time for a change of scenery for Nik Antropov. I don’t think Nik’s play has merited that discussion to this point.”

I personally feel that if the Penguins are interested, the most they should offer is a low-mid prospect or mid-late pick. He is also an Unrestricted Free Agent that will likely expect a raise. He is not old, but he is not young either.

Penguin fans say he can be that big body in front of the net. But that is not exactly his game. He does hang around the net and scores most of his goals off rebounds however (which the Pens don’t do nearly enough).

Antropov can play all 3 forward positions, but prefers center. His faceoff percentage of 39% suggests he’s better suited to wing. There are players out there playing center that prefer wing but I digress.

So am I against bringing in Nik Antropov? Nope. Suprised? My thinking is this: How many top 6 forwards do the Penguins have? 3? 3.5?

If Shero pursues Antropov and gets him for a 4th round pick, good job. He will be much better fit for Sid or Geno than Kennedy, Dupuis, Talbot, Cooke, etc. But do not expect him to play like Dustin Brown, Jarome Iginla, Tomas Holmstrom, or the dearly departed Ryan Malone.

Antropov may not be an option at the deadline, but he may be an interesting option to pursue in free agency. If I was Shero, I would attempt to trade for Antropov now, before a bidding war for the big forward began to escalate out of the Penguin’s price range.

Is Antropov underachieving? Yeah. But an underachieving Antropov has to be an upgrade over the Dupuis Kennedy crew. Plus we would have a better chance to resign him if we desired if he was on the team.

Note: How amazing would the Sedin twins be on Sid’s wings? I know Henrik plays center but he would probably be ok with converting to wing for Crosby. Just sayin.