Nikolai Antropov was born on February 18, 1980. Following a standout junior career in the second-tier Russian Hockey Super League he was selected in the first round, 10th overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft.
Injuries riddled Antropov's time in Toronto, he managed to appear in over 70 games in only two of his nine seasons with the Leafs. However, his time in Toronto was not without its successes, for much of his time in the blue and white he rode shotgun for Maple Leafs all-time leading scorer, Mats Sundin and began to establish himself as a bonafide front-line NHL forward.
With free agency pending in the summer of 2009, Antropov was traded by the Maple Leafs to the New York Rangers at the NHL trade deadline. In return the Maple Leafs acquired a second round draft pick.
On July 2, 2009 Antropov signed a four-year, $16.25 million deal with the Atlanta Thrashers as a free agent.