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Name: Vitali AnikienkoOttawa Senators (#70/2005 NHL Draft)

Rating: 80
Height: 192cm/6'4"
Weight: 99kg/217.8 lb
Position: Defenseman
Shoots: Right
Born: 1987-01-02
Birthplace: Kiev, Ukraine

Game Worn Jerseys:
2005-06 Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl) Home - Sold
RELATED ARTICLES:
Alexander Vasiliev back on track with Vityaz Chekhov (01/25/2009)
Round 46: Viktor Tikhonov (Phoenix Coyotes) shines (Severstal - Lokomotiv detailed scouting analysis) (02/06/2008)
Russia's First Defensive Pairing: Vitaly Anikienko – Anton Poleschuk (11/24/2004)
U18 Team Russia Lineup, Evaluation and Grades - Defensemen and Goalies (2005 NHL Entry Draft Scouting) (09/17/2004)
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PLAYER PHOTOS:

Player News
01/18/2010 Top 10 drafted defensemen in Russia

Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) -  Despite the difficulties of late for Russia producting defensive prospects, the top-end is certainly interesting, with many players who might adapt well in the jump overseas. Recently it has been very tough to decipher who would report to the NHL and who would not, and the apparent drive towards North America played its role in these rankings.

Top 10 at a glance
1. Maxim Goncharov (Phoenix Coyotes)
2. Yuri Alexandrov (Boston Bruins)
3. Dmitri Orlov (Washington Capitals)
4. Pavel Valentenko (New York Rangers)
5. Mikhail Pashnin (New York Rangers)
6. Andrei Zubarev (Atlanta Thrashers)
7. Denis Bodrov (Philadelphia Flyers)
8. Vyacheslav Buravchikov (Buffalo Sabres)
9. Alexei Emelin (Montreal Canadiens)
10. Vitali Anikienko (Ottawa Senators)
(Hockey's Future article by Alessandro Seren Rosso) READ MORE
04/01/2008 Semifinals - Lokomotiv vs. Metallurg 2:1 (series 3:0): Varlmaov is solid

Super League -  Lokomotiv and Metallurg met for the third, and eventually final, match of the semifinals. Interestingly, the game was attended by Konstantin Rudenko (Philadelphia Flyers), who was seriously injured by Darius Kasparaitis (New York Rangers). The young player is still seriously injured but came out to support his squad. Metallurg had the first chance when Jan Marek broke to Semen Varlamov (Washington Capitals), but the goalie calmly deflects the shot. Alexei Mikhnov (Edmonton Oilers) scored the first goal after skating from behind the net and his shot/pass hits the skate of Metallurg’s defenseman Alexander Seluyanov (Detroit Red Wings) and goes into the net. Former NHL defenseman Martin Shtabak ties the game up 1:1. The game remained heated for the next 30 minutes but neither team was able to score, even though Alexei Yashin and Vitali Anikienko (Ottawa Senators) had some great chances, but the game still went to overtime penalty shots. Goalie Ilya Proskuryakov did not save his team this time, letting in critical penalty shots while Varlamov denied everyone including Jan Marek. Lokomotiv will now face HC Salavat Yulayev in the finals.
02/06/2008 Round 46: Viktor Tikhonov shines (Severstal - Lokomotiv scouting analysis)

Super League -  Viktor Tikhonov shined in this contest between HC Lokomotiv and HC Severstal, but his club still ended up losing to Lokomotiv, which got a needed boost from former NHL super star Alexei Yashin . This detailed scouting report of the game additionally includes evaluations of Yuri Alexandrov (Boston Bruins), Vitali Anikienko (Ottawa Senators), Dmitri Loktionov, and Sergei Gimayev (Ottawa Senators). READ MORE
01/28/2008 Round 46: Ilya Kablukov (Vancouver Canucks) leads CSKA to victory
12/09/2007 New scouting report added to Vitali Anikienko (Ottawa Senators)'s profile
11/10/2007 Vitali Anikienko (Ottawa Senators) moves to Novokuznetsk
10/15/2007 Vitali Anikienko (Ottawa Senators)'s game worn Lokomotiv jersey has been added
01/09/2007 New scouting report added to Vitali Anikienko's (Ottawa Senators)
01/16/2006 Web Site News: Vitali Anikienko’s (Ottawa Senators) profile has been released from Premium Content
07/23/2005 2 new scouting reports added to Vitali Anikienko's (2005 NHL Entry Draft) profile
10/03/2004 Premium Coverage: Player Profile of Vitali Anikienko has been added to the 2005 NHL Entry Draft Section!
Scouting Evaluations:
Round 46: Viktor Tikhonov (Phoenix Coyotes) shines (Severstal - Lokomotiv detailed scouting analysis)
Round 46: Viktor Tikhonov (Phoenix Coyotes) shines (Severstal - Lokomotiv detailed scouting analysis)
Russia's First Defensive Pairing: Vitaly Anikienko – Anton Poleschuk
U18 Team Russia Lineup, Evaluation and Grades - Defensemen and Goalies (2005 NHL Entry Draft Scouting)
Draft Rankings and Comments:
2005 NHL ENTRY DRAFT
Rank 1: #6
Rank 2: #6
Rank 3: #5 Ranking Comments:With no room on Lokomotiv's Super League (Russia 1) roster, Anikienko continues to skate for the club's junior squad, Lokomotiv 2. After a mediocre World Cup tournament in August, with the absense of ice time in Russia, the towering Russian will need to really impress at the Four Nations in November to retain his blue chip prospect status.
Rank 4: #5
Talent Analysis:
December 2007 Update: Big sized stay at home defenseman…has bulked up to almost 100 kilograms…his big size permits him to play physical hockey and he doesn’t hesitate to throw his body around…very good checker both along the boards and in open ice…big hitter when he wants to be…plays aggressive on defense, taking advantage of his size…good penalty killer, usually iced in that situation…can outmuscle the opponents…good positioning in the defensive zone, but can improve in this area…likes to use his long stick to poke the puck away…solid skater, not a speedster but usually doesn’t get outskated by the quick lines…tough to move away from the puck because his size and balance…his shot is quite strong but lacks accuracy…average offensive instinct…purely a defensive player so his offensive play is not very good…not a big passer, usually delivers the puck to the nearest team mate…he has a good concentration and decision making, rarely makes errors…a good prospect who remains interesting for Ottawa because of his size and defensive play
Nov 2006 Update (U20 4 Nations Tournament – Czech Republic): More of a defensive blueliner … a good skater with powerful stride … ok acceleration but could improve on the first-step quickness … strong and not afraid to play physically … has strong shot which he uses well on power play … average vision/hockey sense… bad passes give his opponents chances to create a rush, sometimes prone to making these passes out of his own zone… was invisible at the tournament which is not always a bad comment for talking about a defender, since that indicates he was for the most part reliable and did not commit any gaffes, but at the same time didn’t create any exceptional plays.
Scout 1: Skating: A capable skater for someone his size with a good technical stride and impressive sturdiness on his skates... needs to improve his first step and acceleration...needs to also further improve his lateral movement...possesses an average top speed. Shot: Possesses a very powerful weapon in his strong slap shot... he uses it effectively from the blue line, but he does need to work on the shot’s precision...doesn’t really shoot any of his other shots often, since he doesn’t get involved in the offense far beyond the blue line. Technical Ability: An average puck handler and does not hold on to the puck for long...capable, though at times hesitant to carry the puck up the ice – needs to work in this area and tends to frustrate scouts, as he would skate out on a breakaway in one game, but would be unwilling to carry the puck up the ice in the next...an above average stick handler, and combined with his reach, this makes him very dangerous in the defensive zone. Hockey Sense: Sees the ice fairly well, but tends to play safe....as one of our scouts describes his decision making, Anikienko "sometimes overlooks a scoring chance down a passing lane and tends to make in-close passes"... needs to boost confidence in his ability...used to be able to make some nice outlet passes in the past, but doesn’t appear to be as willing to make a riskier outlet pass any more, preferring to make a shorter safer pass Passing: Not a playmaker and, as described earlier, usually sticks to in-close passes, which he can make with good precision. Defensive Play: Works very hard in his own end....needs to be more aggressive and physical...effectively uses his reach and size to keep up with his opponents, but needs to further avoid getting distracted and keeping tabs on his man. Physical Play: As one of our scouts puts it, "Anikienko doesn’t have the attitude. With his size he should be reaking havoc, but he is not aggressive and is not at all a physical player"....this would not be so frustrating if he has not already showcased his ability to effectively use his size and hit opponents and it appears that a lot of his timidity has to do with his mindset. Overall: A towering defenseman who appears to have the raw materials that could make him a blue chip prospect. He has the size, skating, and shot to be a great prospect. However, his hesitance to play physical hockey or take chances on the ice, lack of leadership attributes and his average technical ability lower his stock a bit, though a lot of those qualities may be acquired with more experience, while his natural talent is rare.
Scout 2: A good skater for a player of his size...possesses a solid balance and a powerful stride...could use a better lateral movement and first-step quickness... above-average toughness and tenacity...makes positional mistakes and has trouble with keeping the play in front of him... unleashes a booming shot from the point but needs to upgrade on accuracy...possesses a strong reach...average puck-distributor who sometimes overlooks a passing lane and tends to make in-close passes...works hard down low, but has to stay with his man all the way.
Scout 3: Has the tools to become a very good defenseman, but lack of motivation really hurts him...above average skater...prone to making mediocre decisions, risking too much....possesses a very solid frame and knows how to use his size, but sometimes hesitates to play physical hockey...average vision of the ice, which leads to his sometimes mediocre decision making...potentially high offensive upside - usually sticks to the blue line, but at times surprises with his offensive ability
Back In Russia:
2007-08 season: Anikienko started the season strong with HC Lokomotiv, getting significant ice time during the preseason. However, as the season started, he was again relegated to the third and fourth defensive pairings and while he continued to play, he did not enjoy the same level of responsibility.  As a result, a third way into the season, Anikienko was loaned by HC Lokomotiv to struggling HC Metallurg (Novokuznetsk), where he enjoyed more ice time and has been playing quite well.  
2005-07 seasons: Anikienko continued to skate for HC Lokomotiv and Russia’s 87 born national team, but he struggled to earn ice time with Lokomotiv, especially after another youngster Shvalev took over his spot as the last defenseman in the lineup.   He did, however impress at the 2007 U20 World Junior Championships, where he helped Russia surprise everyone and earn the silver without any major stars in the lineup.  Despite his U20 squad achievements, Anikienko’s future in the Super League remained uncertain. 

2004-05 season: Anikienko skated most of the preseason with Lokomotiv, but had to leave the preseason early to prepare for the early August U18 World Cup tournament in the Czech Republic. Please read below the evaluation of Anikienko’s performance at each international tournament.

2003-04 season: During the 2003-04 season, Anikienko became one of Russia’s top defensemen on the U17 87 born squad. His tour with the squad included the trip to North America for February’s tournament in Canada. During his time in Russia, Anikienko skated for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl’s junior farm club, Yaroslavl 2, where he was one of the team’s youngest members. While not a top pairing defenseman on that team, Anikienko held his own well and put together an impressive season. Despite this, one of our scouts noted the following: "He usually played better with older players than with those his age. When playing with players his age, he wants and tries to be a leader, but is not successful at it. With older players he has an easier time because he simply does what he is told and that seems to work best".

Vitali Anikienko was born in Kiev in Ukraine, where he took his first strides on skates. The young defenseman spent his childhood in Ukraine, before moving to Yaroslavl in Russia in his early teens. His impressive size has made him stand out at an early age, and Anikienko was even picked to skate for Russia’s U18 85 born national team at the 2003 U18 WJC in Yaroslavl, Russia. Two years younger than most members of the team, Anikienko still earned some ice time on the fourth defensive pairing, enjoying limited success, but gaining a lot of valuable experience.
NHL Outlook:
Vitali Anikienko is eligible for the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. The young defenseman posesses a great frame and significant natural talent, including a very powerful shot. He also sees the ice well and has shown he can make solid decisions. However, as mentioned earlier, his hesitance to play physical hockey, average hands, and his recent mediocre play on the international arena may prove detrimental to his overall draft stock. Still, there will likely be an NHL club to tempted to let Anikienko go much past the late second round or early third round. The risk, however, is that he may end up being another Maxim Kuznetsov type selection. RP Projection: Fourth round
Statistics:
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM +/-
2008-09 Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl) KHL (Reg.)40 2 9 11 44 14
2007-08 Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl) Super League (Playoffs)16 0 0 0 20 0
2007-08 Metallurg (Novokuznetsk) Super League (Reg.)10 1 1 2 10 -2
2007-08 Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl) Super League (Reg.)40 4 9 13 48 8
2006-07 U20 Team Russia (87) U20 IIHF WJC (Intl.)6 0 1 1 10 +6
2006-07 U20 Team Russia (87) 4 Nations Tourn. (Sweden) (Intl.)3 0 1 1 0 0
2005-06 U20 Team Russia (86) 4 Nations Tourn. (Intl.)3 0 0 0 0 0
2005-06 Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl) Super League (Reg.)26 0 1 1 28 2
2005-06 U20 Team Russia 4 Nations Tourn. (Intl.)3 0 0 0 0 -2
2004-05 U18 Team Russia U18 WJC (Intl.)4 1 0 1 4 0
2004-05 U18 Team Russia 4 Nations Tourn. (Intl.)3 0 1 1 14 0
2004-05 U18 Team Russia U18 World Cup (Intl.)5 1 1 2 2 -
2003-04 Lokomotiv 87 1st League (Playoffs)24 0 6 6 50 +11
2003-04 Lokomotiv 2 1st League (Reg.)40 2 9 11 68 +13
2002-03 Team Center 87 Regional Tourn. (Intl.)5 1 1 2 6 -
2002-03 Lokomotiv 87 Jr. League (Finals)5 1 0 1 22 -
2002-03 U18 Team Russia U18 WJC IIHF (Intl.)6 0 0 0 2 4
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