First off, let’s give Artem Anisimov his due. The restricted free agent forward, acquired during the last offseason as part of the Rick Nash trade with the New York Rangers, signed a three-year contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Despite missing 13 games due to injury – that’s over a quarter of the truncated 2013 season – Anisimov was tied for seventh on the team in total points scored (18) and was third on the team in goals scored (11). Where “Arty” really shone, however, was in the realm of shooting percentage. At 16.2 percent, he led the team (I’m overlooking Blake Comeau’s 50 percent shooting on 4 shots…sorry.).
For a team that was 26th in the league in goal scoring, he was probably the purest sniper on the roster. I’m very excited to see Anisimov return and am even more impressed that he gave up a year of unrestricted free agency in his new deal, a sign that he’s bullish on Columbus.
Welcome back, Arty!
It also was announced today that assistant coach Keith Acton is off to Edmonton, where he will serve as Associate Coach for his pal and new Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins.
As I mentioned back in my season in review, Acton was full of candor. He worked with the forwards and on the penalty kill, so I suppose we have him to thank at least in part for instilling the “Everyone back to help Bob!” team defense mentality in the forward lines that won the Blue Jackets a handful of games this season.
I grew to appreciate how the coaching staff came together and got the players to buy in this past season, and Acton was a part of that. Let’s hope that the veteran hockey minds leading the CBJ can find another one as good.
Don’t forget, the Blue Jackets’ 2013 NHL Entry Draft party (co-presented by FOX Sports Ohio!) will be held on the floor at Nationwide Arena on Sunday starting at 2PM. If watching the draft on Nationwide Arena’s massive screen isn’t enough to get you interested, try this out: Defenseman Jack Johnson, forward Jared Boll and forward prospect Boone Jenner will be signing autographs, there will be tours of the Blue Jackets locker room and there’s also bounce house and street hockey on the arena floor for the kiddos.
The draft party is a good time, so get out and enjoy a day of Blue Jackets hockey in the summertime!