Afinogenov is back to his old production (Photo © Curtis Compton/Ajc.com)
Darryl Dobbs, a popular The Hockey News writer, wrote on his blog about Maxim Afinogenov’s very good start this year in a new scenario, opposed to the last two years’ bad numbers.
The Moscow native signed this summer a one year deal with the Atlanta Thrashers worth a relative low amount of $800,000.
The shifty Russian had 134 points in 133 games for the Sabres between 2005 and 2007. In 2007-08, he was pretty much a write-off due to injury and then last campaign he got off to a slow start. In this case, Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff didn’t have a whole lot of patience. And who would? Afinogenov was coughing up the puck on a regular basis and was also snake-bitten in the scoring department.
Things are different in Atlanta. Coach John Anderson didn’t have many weapons in his arsenal and had to use what he was given.
So despite posting just three points in six games (and a minus-4) to kick off the campaign, Afinogenov was allowed to play through it. Patience – in the case of both the team and the player, it’s what low expectations buy you. That patience has made the Thrashers a multi-line threat.
Afinogenov now has 20 points in 20 games and is back to his old, productive self. He has played more than 56 games just twice in the past seven years, including 36 games during the lockout, so injuries are still a concern, but he’s a safe bet to remain close to a point per game. Pencil him in for 70 games (to play it safe) and 66 to 71 points.
On another THN feature, Brian Duff put Afinogenov as #1 amont the “one year deal wonders” of this season.
Afinogenov’s early-season surge will prove to be a turning point for Thrashers GM Don Waddell, who could use a few deals/contracts to go his way.
After showing up for only the first year of his final three-year deal in Buffalo, crazy legs Max appeared destined for the Kontinental League or anywhere but the NHL after an embarrassing six-goal, 20-point season.