Finally, a superstar reached Broadway to revise the Rangers roster, and project them closer to a Stanley Cup. Having such a big name in New York was refreshing, and translated into a mass amount of anxiousness for fans. Eventually, the time came for Panarin to shine in the big apple and prove himself worthy of his hefty contract. As the season progressed, the slight questions and uncertainty about Panarin’s ability disappeared. Game after game, Panarin continuously captivated fans with his dazzling moves and clutch goals. As a result, he drew eyes from all across the league to witness his swift take to the Rangers organization.
From there, it was history in the making for Panarin, racking up goals and assists in virtually every game he played in. With such an explosive first season as a Rangers, the confidence Panarin resorted in the franchise and the fans was captivating. With next season on the brink of reoccurrence, Panarin is undoubtedly on the upward trend for another outstanding season as a Blueshirt.
Why Panarin Will Not Regress In The Coming Years
Coming into this season at 29 years-old, I do not expect Panarin’s offensive skills to regress at all. A reason why Panarin’s talent will hardly decrease as he ages is because of his style of play. What I mean by this, is that the vital role Panarin plays impacts his potential time in the NHL. For example, Panarin is known for how sneaky he can be on the ice in the offensive zone. He is not a guy that puts himself in any physical danger or chance to get injured. On top of this, Panarin hardly takes penalties and conserves his energy very well.
Furthermore, Panarin is not a Chris Kreider, who barrels his way through the zone with speed and physicality. He is more of a Mats Zuccarello, who controls the game and its tempo with hockey IQ. Because of this, it will be very hard for the game to become too fast to where Panarin can’t keep up. Since he does not rely on his speed to shape the game, he counts on elusiveness and niftiness to be his x-factor. Whereas other players rely on their physical attributes, which will eventually wear down over time. Lucky for Panarin, his allusiveness is not a factor that deteriorates with age. For this reason, he could very well maintain his status as one of the top players in the coming years.
What Impact Will New Players Have On Panarin?
With the addition of Alexis Lafreniere, there is a good chance these two dominant players take to each other swiftly. Last season we saw how impactful Panarin was to a young Ryan Strome and a defensive-oriented Jesper Fast. This season, with the possibility of Panarin and Lafreniere being linemates, the chances of both these players having amazing seasons are certainly high. Not to mention that before the NHL draft, when Lafreniere was asked about the possibility of being drafted by the Rangers, he said he would “be honored” to play alongside Panarin. The good news for Lafreniere is that this dream of his could very well come true. If in fact, these two are linemates, (presumably on the second line), Panarin’s chances for having an even better season than last year is certainly possible.
On top of this, Panarin will most definitely offer Lafreniere guidance in his first season in the NHL. Having a veteran presence like Panarin showing Lafreniere the ropes will create great chemistry, and allow for Lafreniere to hopefully make a smooth transition onto the Rangers.
Why He Is So Successful?
Quite frankly, Artemi Panarin is just different. Aside from being one of the greatest undrafted hockey players of all time, he plays the game unlike anyone else in the league. His command on the ice when he has the puck catches teams off guard frequently. Whether it’s a stretch pass up the ice to rushing forward or a backdoor pass to his linemate, Panarin will find a way to get the puck to an open man. To contrast his innate vision, he also has outstanding puck control. While he may not lead the rush at full speed like how his occasional line-mate, Mika Zibanejad does, Panarin’s nonchalant presence gives off an allusion of passiveness. To many defenders’ mistakes, they quickly realize with a few deft moves, Panarin can almost instantly create space and make a play happen.
Thanks to his double threat of passing and puck possession, defenders often become fooled because of his variety of skills.
Projections For The Upcoming Season
With the new season coming up quickly, Artemi Panarin will take the ice to resume where he left off. Tallying 32 goals, 63 assists, and 95 points last season, he will attempt to repeat his success this season. His role on the power play and on the second line allows him to get multiple scoring opportunities; which he cashes in on consistently. The only downside I saw from him last season was him occasionally forcing passes. Although many of his seemingly impossible passes got to the open man, he occasionally forced passes that shouldn’t have been made, resulting in a turnover. Of course, when you’re Artemi Panarin, this is not much of a concern for David Quinn, nor myself.
With the Rangers showing a progression towards being a competitive team again, the playoffs are within reach. If in fact, The Rangers are going to make a playoff push this year, Panarin is going lead the charge. By improving the players around him, and following the things that brought him success last season, “the bread man” will most definitely have himself yet another amazing season.