Hartnett: Artemi Panarin Is Invaluable To Rangers

Blueshirts Have Just One Win When The All-Star Doesn’t Score A Point

Sean Hartnett
January 22, 2020 - 1:33 pm
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Artemi Panarin’s performances have been the number one reason why the inexperienced and rebuilding Rangers have played near the .500 mark through the season’s first 48 games.

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An upper-body injury forced the 28-year-old wing to miss Tuesday’s 4-2 home defeat to the rival Islanders. The difference with and without Panarin is clear as day.

When Panarin is healthy, the Rangers are one of the league’s most exciting teams to watch. His ability to change games in an instant means the Rangers are never really out of a game. He inspires comebacks through his superlative creativity, off-the-chart puck skills, tremendous playmaking vision and ability to score from any angle.

Without him, the Rangers lacked zip, conviction and cohesion. Though Tuesday was Panarin’s first scratch of the season, the Blueshirts are 1-9-1 when he hasn’t score a point.

Following the defeat, head coach David Quinn compared Panarin’s absence to losing three players.

Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin in action during the second period against the Columbus Blue Jackets Jan 19, 2020; New York, New York
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

“One guy makes a big difference, especially a guy who’s a superstar,” Quinn told reporters. “Obviously, with him in the lineup, our lineup looks a lot different. The other team has to pay more attention to him, and in essence, you lose three players – because the two guys he’s playing with aren’t as good as they would be with him there.”

Panarin has recorded 68 points (26 goals, 42 assists) through 47 games. He is currently on pace to finish his first season as a Ranger with 117 points. Only Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Nathan MacKinnon and David Pastrnak have tallied more points – and all four have played several games more than Panarin.

No player has registered more even-strength points than Panarin’s 52. No player in the league who has played at least 10 games has a better points per 60 minutes (3.69) or assists per 60 minutes (2.38) than Panarin.

There’s plenty of stats that can illustrate why Panarin deserves to be leading the Hart Trophy race. Traditional stats, microstats and sophisticated charts all do a nice job of demonstrating his value to the Rangers.

Yet Tuesday, the old-fashioned eye test showed why no player in NHL is more valuable to their team than Panarin. The Rangers are clearly a different team with and without their no. 1 talent.

Follow Sean on Twitter -- @HartnettHockey

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