The New York Rangers are currently in a position to make a strong push for the Stanley Cup. They are filled with offensive depth and elite defensemen and possess one of the best goaltenders in the NHL. Despite this abundance of talent on the team, the Rangers have still fallen short of their goal year after year. With their Cup window slowly closing, it’s possible that GM Chris Drury may consider a move to quickly reboot the offensive corp by moving on from one of the Rangers’ stars in order to acquire more depth and save money.
Panarin’s value will begin to decline soon
Artemi Panarin has been the most productive forward on the Rangers since signing with the organization in July of 2019. Scoring 341 points in 268 games with the Blueshirts, Panarin has led the Rangers in almost every offensive category throughout his four-year tenure. It’s safe to say that the recent success of the organization would have been much more difficult to achieve without Panarin, but at 31 years old, his contributions may soon start to dwindle.
Panarin’s biggest flaw is his surplus of offensive turnovers. He’s one of the smartest wingers in the NHL, continuously generating highlight-reel plays with his strong knowledge of the game. However, there are times when Panarin tries to do too much. Rather than seizing an open scoring opportunity, he’ll opt for a foolish pass that costs the Rangers puck possession. This flaw has been exploited by many teams, and unless new HC Peter Laviolette has a system to fix it, the problem will only grow worse with time.
With three years remaining in his contract with the Rangers, it’s possible that Drury could look to move Panarin while his value is still high. Many teams would pay a hefty price for the star winger, and the Rangers certainly have a lot of holes left to fill in their lineup. Trading Panarin would open a spot on the left side for Alexis Lafreniere to receive top six minutes, and the return package could include some depth own the right side as well. A trade could also provide opportunities for a handful of young prospects looking to fight their way into an NHL role.
A trade would clear a huge chunk of the Rangers’ cap usage
The Rangers are currently sitting at roughly $50k over the league salary cap, giving them quite literally zero maneuverability to make any moves later in the 2023-24 season. In order to play at an NHL-accepted spending amount and provide options come the trade deadline, Drury must find a way to burn some of the Rangers’ spending.
While a simpler and more realistic trade may come in the form of moving a player such as Barclay Goodrow, a blockbuster trade to ship off Panarin would open up a massive chunk of money. With Panarin making over $11.6 million for the next three years, the star makes up about one-seventh of the Rangers’ total salary alone.
By clearing that amount of money, the Rangers could easily use it on two or three solid forwards to add to their depth. Panarin deserves a paycheck that large, being as elite of a player as he is, but his contract may not be the most helpful given the Rangers’ situation.
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How likely are the Rangers to trade Panarin?
Despite there being a handful of reasons why Drury would look to move on from Panarin, a trade seems less than likely to actually happen. Panarin has his flaws and comes at a Hugh price, but his contributions to the Rangers are too essential to the team’s success to give away.
“People might not be happy with the showing from Panarin in the past two playoff runs, but there is something to be said about how his regular season performances get the Rangers to this point in the first place. There are always arguments about how “the regular season doesn’t matter”, but for this upcoming season, those 82 games are going to set the standard for an organization with a brand new staff that is starving to bring the Stanley Cup back to New York City.”via The Hockey News
Panarin has been a consistent point producer throughout his tenure, and although he is getting older, he should have the ability to consistently tally over a point per game for the next three seasons. Unless another organization offers an irrefutable package for the star winger, the odds of the Rangers trading Panarin are close to none.