The New York Rangers have had many of their top players find success this season, but the best forward on the team through 33 games played has easily been superstar winger Artemi Panarin. The Bread Man is having a Hart Trophy-caliber run and has been producing points at a rate never before seen in his career.
Following a terrible postseason performance last season, the pressure was on for Panarin to bounce back this year. With new HC Peter Laviolette manning the bench with a brand new system, Panarin has completely changed his game and has elevated to a new level of skill.
Panarin has become a “shoot first” player rather than a passing playmaker
One of the biggest changes seen in Panarin this season has been the amount of shots he’s been taking on net. Per RangersMuse, the star winger has already had four different games in which he’s taken eight or more shots. Compare that to the zero games in which he did so last season, and the change becomes much more drastic.
Panarin had always been more of a passer throughout his career. He was a master of collecting assists, as he helped many Rangers players throughout the years inflate their goal production. But this ended up becoming a flaw in his game, as proven by the complete lack of offense in last year’s playoffs. This new style of play from Panarin has helped boost the production of the Rangers’ offense tenfold.
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The Rangers needed this new change from Panarin
There was a point during this past offseason where fans began to question their faith in Panarin. He had found regular-season success year after year, but his skills would vanish in the playoffs. This season’s playoffs are still months down the road, but this change in Panarin is a great sign for the pivotal postseason.
The Rangers needed this change from Panarin immediately. It was clear from previous seasons that something was not working, and the Bread Man has sparked a brand new look for the Blueshirts. He’s been the catalyst for many wins already with this new look, and that success will hopefully carry into the playoffs.