Rangers’ Peter Laviolette ‘open’ to rewarding star forward with more playing time

New York Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin (10) skates with the puck defended by Boston Bruins left wing A.J. Greer (10) during the third at Madison Square Garden
Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Left winger Artemi Panarin is off to a strong start to the 2023-24 NHL season for the New York Rangers and a career year could be on the horizon as newly-hired head coach Peter Laviolette gives him an uptick in time on the ice.

Panarin & the Rangers Excelled When Faced Off Against Laviolette Teams

Rangers head coach Peter Laviolette addressed the media yesterday, Oct. 23, stating his long-lasting respect for Panarin’s offensive potency and his intention to reward him for it moving forward, per SNY:

Laviolette was behind the bench for the Nashville Predators and Washington Capitals while Panarin got his feet wet in the NHL. Panarin made his presence felt when up against Laviolette-coached teams. He scored a combined 29 points in 28 head-to-head matchups and helped the Blueshirts go 17-11 in that span.

These performances allowed Laviolette to admire Panarin from afar. Now that Laviolette has the luxury of utilizing Panarin’s talents on the ice, he wants the lefty creator to reach new heights in his ninth year as a pro.

Will Panarin Be Positioned for His Best Season With the Rangers?

Thus far, Panarin’s average time on the ice has been consistent with what he’s seen throughout his career. He’s played 19 minutes in the Blueshirts’ five games and has delivered three goals and three of his four assists in power-play situations.

The last time Panarin exceeded 20 minutes per game was in 2019-20, when he sported career-highs in plus/minus (+36) and even strength goals (25). By Laviolette’s remarks, it’s safe to assume he’ll exceed that marker and then some.

Outside of health and substitution patterns, Laviolette can work with Panarin on accruing fewer penalties. In his first time playing all 82 games since the 2016-17 campaign, Panarin accumulated a career-high 36 penalty minutes. Far from an alarm bell, Panarin dialing back on penalties will only add to the amount of opportunities he has to create for himself and others.

The Rangers (3-2) sit as the No. 2 seed in the Metropolitan Conference, trailing only the Philadelphia Flyers (3-1-1) in the standings. They play the Calgary Flames (2-3-1) tonight, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. EST. They’ve allowed the third-most goals in the NHL, giving Panarin a wide-open window to stuff the stat sheet and deliver on Laviolette’s coaching direction.

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