Rangers: How Artemi Panarin’s increased shot output has led to a Hart Trophy-level season

New York Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin (10) controls the puck in the third period against the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena
Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Through the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons, something was being left on the table in New York Rangers star Artemi Panarin’s game. While the superstar left winger continued to be a threat on the ice, he wasn’t shooting the puck like he had in years prior.

His game became “pass first and shoot second.” There were even many instances where he would pass up on Grade A goal-scoring opportunities and make a pass. This season, Panarin has gone back to his shot-first mentality, which has resulted in his Hart Trophy-level season.

More shots = More goals for Artemi Panarin

A big reason the New York Rangers wanted to sign Artemi Panarin was his ability to find the back of the net. But during the past two seasons, he’s found himself lacking in that area of his game. During the 2021-22 campaign, Panarin only scored 22 goals. During the 2022-23 season, he put up 29.

Coming into the season, Panarin stressed the fact that he wanted to shoot the puck more and did just that. Through 74 games this season, the 32-year-old left winger has been firing off shots on goal. With eight games left in the regular season, he has registered 263 shots on goal (a career-high).

Through his increased shot output, he has been able to find the back of the net more than ever. He has 44 goals and counting with eight games remaining in the regular season.

Panarin had this to say after scoring his 40th goal of the season:

“I never thought it was (possible). You know me, I usually never focus on goals but I try to shoot more this year.”

via Arthur Staple of The Athletic

The Rangers’ superstar truly has an elite shot and it was baffling that he wasn’t using it more in previous years. Now that he finally started to again, he’s seeing an increase in shot and goal production like never before.

Panarin’s goal-scoring is setting up looks for his Rangers teammates

To go along with his 44 goals, Artemi Panarin also has 63 assists this year. If the past two seasons have taught us anything, it’s that Artemi Panarin is an elite passer along with having an elite shot. The ways he sees the ice and creates plays are otherworldly. But now that he is finally using his shot more, teams have been shading over to cover him leaving other areas of the ice open.

This in turn allows Panarin’s linemates to get open for him. With his high hockey IQ, Panarin and his linemates notice the soft coverages in the defense. They find their way to the area, and Panarin uses his lethal passing ability to find them.

This goal from Vincent Trocheck beautifully paints the picture. He waits for Trocheck to skate in back-door and then delivers a beautiful feed. Borgen (Bottom), Dumoulin (Middle), and Wennberg (Top) all have their eyes set on Artemi Panarin as he enters the zone through the left side. Trocheck realizes this and cuts in back door and Panarin gives him a beautiful feed. Since all of the attention is on Breadman, it allows for Trocheck to sneak in undetected.

It has been an unbelievable season for Panarin in all facets of his game. He was finally able to capture his first 100-point season with the Rangers and in his career. With eight games left, he sits at 44 goals and 107 points. Will he be able to surpass 50 goals and break Rangers legend Jaromir Jagr’s 123-point single-season franchise record?

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