One of the biggest free-agent signings of the off-season was Artemi Panarin signing with the New York Rangers. The Russian forward inked a seven-year, nearly $81.5 million contract. Panarin was one of the most coveted players at the start of free agency and the Rangers landed him.
People wondered how he would do in a big market like New York City. Panarin had played with the Chicago Blackhawks for two seasons but wasn’t the focus there like he is on Broadway. There’s always a big concern when a big-time free agents sign deals to play at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers have missed before on free-agent signings as Markus Naslund, Bobby Holik, Scott Gomez and others washed out. However, Panarin has flourished in his short time in the Big Apple. He has 15 goals and 22 assists for 37 points in 30 games. That is more than halfway to the 28 that he scored in his last season with the Columbus Blue Jackets and making him a favourite with Betway NHL Lines.
Artemi Panarin Thriving on Broadway
Panarin’s signing brought immense pressure on him, but he’s already drawn praise from fans and teammates. Ryan Strome told the New York Post that Panarin “is the best winger I have played with.” Strome praised his teammate’s skill and his puckhandling ability.
The Rangers haven’t had such a prime scorer since Marian Gaborik posted a pair of 40-goal seasons and Rick Nash’s 42 goals in 2014-15. New York hasn’t had a 100-point scorer since future Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr scored a team-record 53 goals en route to a 123-point season in the 2005-06 season.
Artemi Panarin is on pace for 101 points this season, which has slowed down from 108 that was calculated on Dec. 1. However, he has goals in his last two games against the Vegas Golden Knights and the Los Angeles Kings. His fast pace and skills often put him in a position to score goals.
Leading the Way
The Rangers are a young team still trying to finish off a rapid-fire rebuild, but Panarin has played like a veteran. He’s usually in a good mood and stepped up to be a leader on the club.
Panarin has picked up his scoring pace after top-line centre Mika Zibanejad went down for a month with an upper-body injury. He even posted a 12-game point streak from the middle of Oct. to early Nov.
Rangers head coach David Quinn has put out some young lineups with as many as seven skaters under the age of 21. Panarin has had to be a leader on a team trying to find some consistency. The Rangers are 15-12-3 with 33 points heading into Dec. 12’s slate of games.
New York is five points out the second wild-card spot thanks to some struggles in the first six weeks of the season. However, Panarin has been a constant point producer this entire season. He’s thrived on a line most of the season with Strome and Jesper Fast on the other wing.
His Corsi for has dipped under 50 percent for the first time in his career at 47.3, but his relative Corsi is still strong at 6.6 percent. He’s also been solid on the power play with nine goals as he’s on the first extra-man unit.
What it Means for the Future
The Rangers are far from a finished product, but Panarin gives the team and its fans hope. He’s already performing like a Broadway star with his early-season performance. The team is on the upswing and he’s a big part of it.
New York general manager Jeff Gorton’s gamble of paying him nearly $11.5 million a season looks to be paying off. The new collective bargaining agreement could mean that Panarin will be a bargain when salaries skyrocket.
The infographic was taken from Betway’s Insider.