Nikolai Aleksandrovich Antropov (born February 18, 1980) is aKazakhstani–Canadian professional ice hockey forward for the Winnipeg Jets of the National Hockey League (NHL). He received Canadian citizenship in May 2007.
Antropov was expected to be drafted early in the second round, but following a dominant season with Kaztsink-Torpedo Ust-Kamenogorsk in the second-tier of the Russian Superleague (RSL), including an international match against Iceland, in which he scored 11 goals and 26 points, he was drafted tenth overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. Before going overseas to play hockey in North America, Antropov also played in the RSL with Dynamo Moscow.
When Owen Nolan joined the Maple Leafs in March 2003, Antropov changed his number from #11 (Nolan’s number for the San Jose Sharks) to #80, the year of his birth. In 2003–04, Leaf coach Pat Quinn formed a line with Joe Nieuwendyk, Alexei Ponikarovsky, and Antropov. This line was dubbed the “Skyline” because of the players’ height.
However, injuries felled the power forward, and he missed significant time during the 2005–06 season. Antropov managed to produce 12 goals and 19 assists for 31 points in 57 games.
Upon Antropov’s return from injury, he added 15 points in the final ten regular-season games of the 2005–06 NHL season. Antropov finished third on the team in even-strength scoring and also led the Leafs in +/- with a +13 rating.
In 2006–07, Antropov typically played alongside team captainMats Sundin and Ponikarovsky on the top line.
On June 6, 2007, the Maple Leafs announced they had signed Antropov to a two-year contract extension. During a game with the New York Rangers on 6 December 2007, Antropov scored his second career hat-trick and was named the game’s first star. In December 2007, a campaign was launched to encourage fans to vote Antropov as a write-in Candidate the 56th National Hockey League All-Star Game in Atlanta.
On February 9, 2008, Antropov set a new career high in goals with 19 when he scored in overtime to give the Leafs a 3–2 win, tipping in an Anton Strålman slapshot— he finished the season with 26 goals.
On July 2, 2009, Antropov signed a four-year, $16.25 million deal with the Atlanta Thrashers as a free agent. He is expected to make $3.5 million the first year, $3.75 million the second, $4.25 million the third, and $4.75 million for the final year of the deal, for an average cap hit of $4.0625 million each year. His first year with the Atlanta Thrashers was his most successful scoring 24 goals and 43 assists.
Internationally, Antropov represented Kazakhstan in the 1998 IIHF World Championships, the 1999 World Junior Championships (earning eight points in six games) and in the recent 2006 Winter Olympics, where he scored one goal. Antropov captained the Kazakhstani squad on both occasions. He and Colorado Avalanche goaltender Vitaly Kolesnikwere the lone NHL players on the team.