Quick Question: When is the last time the New York Rangers had a 100 point scorer in a season? You have to go back to the 2005-06 season when some guy named Jagr scored 123. The Rangers have a player that is on pace to duplicate that feat in their significant free-agent acquisition Artemi Panarin.
So far, Panarin has been everything the Rangers had hoped for when team President John Davidson signed the forward in the offseason. It probably helped that Davidson had been President for Columbus, where Panarin lead that team in scoring the past two seasons. Panarin was brought in help anchor a young rebuilding team and is now on pace to score 110 points over 82 games.
How Great Has Panarin Been for the Rangers in 2019?
Early on, Panarin started paying dividends as he put up a 12 point streak from Mid-October to Mid-November, providing the Rangers with the scoring consistency a young team needs. Panarin has been vital in helping frequent linemates Jesper Fast and Ryan Strome, who has also seen a bit of revival since being acquired from Edmonton last year. Strome has been so impressed with Panarin and skill set that he has frequently referred to him as a “game-breaker.”
Even though some may consider 33 games too small a sample size, Panarin scoring 20 goals and 23 assists for 43 points is not out of character for him. He did lead Columbus in scoring last season with 87 points. He also scored 77 and 74 points in his first two years with the Chicago Blackhawks while sharing ice time with prolific scorers Patrick Kane and Jonathon Toews.
Panarin has also been a positive force in the locker room. Up and down the roster, players have pointed to his commitment to playing an all-around game as one of his standout qualities. Teammates also describe him as a guy who is dynamic offensively but is willing to play that whole 200-foot game, which lets everyone know that, if he can do it, everyone has to buy into that defensive responsibility as well.
Free agency can be hit-or-miss in any league, but it’s safe to say that the New York Rangers’ decision to pursue Artemi Panarin has been a very good one.