Rangers: Is 2023 a make or break season for Artemi Panarin?

Rangers, New York Rangers, Artemi Panarin
Oct 23, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin (10) reacts before a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout the last five seasons, New York Rangers forward Artemi Panarin ranks fourth league-wide in points and has been one of the best players on the Blueshirts in recent years. However, Panarin’s recent struggles in the postseason and inconsistent regular season performances have called the star’s impact into question. As the Rangers prepare for the upcoming 2023 season, Panarin may be entering a make-or-break campaign.

Panarin disappears in the playoffs

The 2023 playoffs were nothing short of disappointing for the Rangers. After putting together a superteam during an extremely busy trade deadline, losing in seven games to the New Jersey Devils was devastating. One of the key factors leading to this failure was the fact that Panarin was basically nowhere to be found.

Throughout the entire first round, Panarin only notched two assists in the series. Both of these assists came in Game 1 as well, where the Rangers dominated the Devils by a score of 5-1. For a player who tallied 92 points throughout the regular season, averaging .29 points per game (ppg) in the playoffs is incredibly underwhelming.

Last season wasn’t the only year this problem has risen. Throughout his tenure with the Rangers, which began in 2019, Panarin has consistently disappeared once the regular season ends. It’s strange that a consistent superstar continuously fails in the postseason. If the Rangers make the playoffs once again this upcoming season, Panarin will need to break this cycle.

Turnovers are hurting the overall success of the team

While being an overall excellent player on the ice, there are certain aspects to Panarin’s game that hurt his success- the biggest one being his offensive turnovers. Panarin has always been a “pass-first” player, choosing to feed the puck to his teammates more often than not. He is a world-class playmaker, always finding ways to thread the needle and create some highlights. However, sometimes Panarin tries to do too much.

There are many instances where Panarin has an open shooting lane, but tries to force a pass that is completely unnecessary. This commonly leads to the opposing team intercepting the puck, taking possession, and gaining a scoring opportunity. In the 2022-2023 season, Panarin had a whopping 102 giveaways. It’s hard to win games when a player with top-tier ice time continuously gives the puck over to the other team.

What will the Rangers do if problems continue?

At this time, the Rangers have expressed zero interest in moving on from Panarin. Many fans, however, have begun to vocalize their grievances with the star’s problems. So if the Blueshirts ever decide to make a change, what could happen?

The Rangers would have to look for a trade or a possible buyout to get rid of the Bread Man as his contract won’t expire until after the 2025-2026 season. The 32-year-old hockey star signed a seven-year contract with the Rangers for $81.5 million on July 1st, 2019, according to Sports Keeda.

It’s not likely that the Rangers will decide to move on from Panarin, but it’s certain that he needs to step up his game next season. Panarin needs to start producing in the playoffs and remove those nasty turnovers from his play, otherwise, the team will be set for failure once again. With a new look and some new linemates, hopefully, Panarin will succeed.

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