Senators acquire Anisimov
Zack Smith was expecting to leave Ottawa. For a very long time, even. He still suffered a little shock Tuesday morning when he received a phone call from his agent.
C last e told him that the Senators were about to conclude a deal with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Everything was settled a few hours later. In return for Smith, the Senators grabbed the Russian center Artem Anisimov.
“At the beginning of the last season, I got the idea. I knew I could be involved in a transaction at any time, “Smith explained in a conference call organized by the Blackhawks.
The thirty-year-old attacker was referring to the 24-hour runoff at the end of the last training camp.
It was not claimed at that time. His teammates and coaches were happy to be able to count on him again.
Smith felt that the management did not know what to do with him anymore.
The American reporters consulted his figures and wanted to understand what happened.
He had the best season of his career in 2015-16. That year, he scored no less than 25 goals.
The next season, he scored only 16.
In 2017-18, he has just scored five.
Smith answered this question frankly and directly.
“The year I scored 25 goals, the recipe for success was not complicated. I played with Mark Stone. ”
“Playing with Stone was great. We had Jean-Gabriel Pageau, too, with us. The complicity was very strong. In the years that followed, I was hurt. I suffered from trust issues. All players will tell you. In sport, trust is extremely important, “he added.
Smith says that he has changed his way of thinking since then.
“In the last two years I have been used in a strictly defensive role and that suits me perfectly. I know that I am useful to my team, even when I do not score. And I feel like I have progressed in the last two years. ”
The Hawks missed the playoffs last year. They were quick to identify their Achilles heel. They retained the worst goals-against average of the entire West Association. So they made defensive their priority.
The Senators, they would have done a good shot on the financial plan by completing this transaction.
According to data collected by the specialized site CapFriendly.com, Anisimov has received a signing bonus of US $ 2 million in recent days. This note was settled by the Hawks.
This transaction could save the Senators $ 1.5 million in real money.
Pierre Dorion believes that Anisimov can still help his team.
“He will be one of our four centers. He will be able to help us in the special units, both in numerical superiority and numerical inferiority. He proved he is capable of scoring 20 goals per season. He has done so on four occasions since the beginning of his career. It is mostly complete. He can play on 200 feet, “he says.
Anisimov will be the second highest employee among Ottawa strikers, behind Bobby Ryan. He is under contract until 2021.
“We can not line up only young players,” Dorion insists. We need good veterans who can mentor young people. “