New York Rangers: Has The Bread Man Delivered so far in 2019?

New York Rangers, Artemi Panarin

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.

New York Rangers top Winnipeg Jets in wild home opener

New York Rangers

The New York Rangers opened their season having high expectations in which they beat the Winnipeg Jets 6-4 in a wild back-and-forth home opener.

“It was exciting,” said Mika Zibanejad. “It was a hard-fought game… we didn’t play that well in the first two, I thought we did some good things but not often do you get a good 20 minute period and get a win from that.”

Marc Stall scored the first goal of the season in the first period to give the Rangers a lead and then the game was tied up with a goal by Mark Scheifele in the remaining three minutes of period one.

In his first game as a Ranger, Artemi Panarin gave them a 2-1 lead 27 seconds into the second period and then the game was all tied up 30 seconds later by a goal from Blake Wheeler. Jacob Trouba scored his first NHL goal later that period and then again was quickly followed by another goal from Blake Wheeler.

The Rangers broke open the game in the third period with three unanswered goals, one being an open-netter. Mika Zibanejad, who only had 30 goals last season, scored first followed by Brett Howden and Brendan Smith.

Beginning his 15th season in the NHL, Henrik Lundqvist allowed the four goals on 47 shots.

“I feel really good,” said Lundqvist before the game. “I’m happy with where I am physically, technically and mentally. My timing is good. I’m moving well.”

The New York Rangers will play their next game Saturday against the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Center.