Traditional hockey folks might not think much of a player that stands 5-foot-8 and weighs 160 pounds.
Sam Anas is out to prove those folks wrong.
Anas was an undrafted college free agent who averaged over a point per game in each of his three seasons with Quinnipiac. In total, Anas tallied 69 goals and 63 assists in his time with Quinnipiac before choosing to sign with the Wild in April 2016.
"He's a smart offensive player," said Wild assistant general manager Brent Flahr when the team signed Anas. "He's produced offensively at every level and finished in the top-10 of NCAA scoring this year. While undersized, Sam has a high compete level and knows his way around the offensive zone."
You can take the final sentence of Flahr's comments on Anas from 22 months ago, and still apply it to today.
After a first season in Iowa in which he only tallied 28 points, Anas has found a whole different gear this season. His 40 points -- .90 per game -- currently rank second on the team and his 18 goals are best on the team. That 40-point mark includes an 11-game point streak that came from Dec. 2-28.
"He is awesome [to play with]. He makes tons of plays. Definitely a guy in the offensive zone when you get the puck you're looking for him because he has a knack for the net and can score," said teammate and current linemate Justin Kloos.
There has been a huge leap in production for Anas this year. "Part of it is having some faith in my game and the other part is having some good chemistry with some linemates and success on the power play," he said.
For linemates, Anas has settled in recently with Gerry Mayhew and Kloos. While they might be noted as the "third line" on line charts, they have become one of the more productive lines for Iowa.
While Anas and Kloos are neck-and-neck in points on the season -- Kloos currently sits at 36 -- the two don't even acknowledge the scoring race between the linemates. "I don't think it's a big deal," said Kloos. Anas said, "I don't think it been brought up once."
Both did go on to say how hard it is for them to score a goal without an assist from their linemate and how supportive everyone on the team is of each other.
"[Friday night] you see I had a goal from Gerry [Mayhew] and Kloos and he's just jumping on the pile," Anas said of the level of support the linemates have for each other. "I think deep down we are still kids just having fun playing hockey and that's all that matters."
But while Anas has enjoyed great success for Iowa this season, a call-up from the big club in Minnesota has yet to come. While Minnesota continues to remain crunched right up to the salary cap, Anas will continue to put in the work and hopefully get the call one day.
"Obviously you think about the possibility of being called up, but it's not something I focus or dwell on," he said. "Control what you can control and if you play the best way down here then eventually you earn the right to play up there."
Not even being a noted snub for this year's AHL All-Star Classic brought Anas down. "If it happens, it happens," he said with a smile. "I enjoyed my time off. I was happy for Luke [Kunin] and it seemed like he enjoyed it."
As the season begins its final stretch, the Iowa Wild are looking to make the Calder Cup playoffs for the first time since moving there five years ago. Anas will no doubt be a key contributor in Iowa's run to the Calder Cup playoffs, and hopes this is something the team achieves this year.
"That's a major goal for us as an organization this year," he said. "Last year -- my first year -- we got pretty close. We got a taste, a sniff, something we are driving to make this year."
"We picked up some key acquisitions this offseason," Anas added. "Some key leadership and good goaltending are the keys to making a run here."
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