Artemi Panarin is bringing it for the New York Rangers this season
New York Rangers forward Artemi Panarin was not happy when the team was eliminated in the ECF last season. He was obviously not thrilled about losing to Tampa Lightning, but his individual play in the playoffs gave him a mission to be better this season.
Panarin, 31, recorded 96 points in 2021-22 including 74 assists, both of which were career highs. His playoff numbers were not as impressive despite scoring the game 7 OT winner against the Pittsburgh Penguins to complete the series comeback down 3-1 in the first round.
In 20 playoff games, he finished with 16 points. A pretty strong number for the average player, but underwhelming for the skillful Panarin.
Artemi Panarin determined
Panarin seemed to change his game when the playoffs began last season. He was hesitant with the puck leading to some bad decisions, and wanted to pass when prime shooting opportunities presented themselves.
This was not the elite forward fans were used to seeing play. The Breadman recognized that he needed to go back to how he played earlier in his career.
In an interview in September, Panarin acknowledged that he needed to play better. The Korkino, Russia native didn’t believe he had a great season despite his point production.
“I was too much on the boards myself and with the puck,” Panarin, reprising thoughts he had first expressed late in the season, said through a translator. “There were definitely good parts of last season, 15 or 20 good games out of the main chunk of the season. There has to be more puck movement. He went on to say “I was not as satisfied as I should have. I wanted to do better, I made plays that were a bit more unfortunate and the unfortunate mistakes I made probably shouldn’t have happened.”NY Post
Coming into this year’s training camp, he was determined to be a better player and committed to getting the team deeper into the playoffs when they begin next April.
Fast forward to this season and his commitment to finding his game has flourished. 11 games into this season Panarin is in the top five in points (16) and assists (11). He has three multi-point games (Minnesota, Anaheim, and Arizona).
In the team’s 3-2 win in Arizona, Panarin found a hard-crashing Alexis Lafrenière who scored to give the Blueshirts a 1-0 lead a the time. The goal was pretty, but the pass was one that only a few NHL-caliber players could complete.
Lafrenière praised the play by Panarin when he talked about that goal postgame.
“When you play with players like that, you just go to the net and things happen, and he found me, it was a great play by him.”NHL.Com
Artemi Panarin continues to improve his game, and at the same time, he continues to have fun on the ice. It’s refreshing to see a player acknowledge his personal disappointments especially when that disappointment affects his own team’s achievements.
This self-assessment for a player who averages over $11 million a season shows he understand the pressures of playing for the New York Rangers. That’s why fans have gravitated to Panarin and understand his pressure of playing in the greatest arena in the world for an Original Six team.
Panarin is determined not to repeat the mistakes from last postseason. He’s driving to the net more and has shown a willingness to shoot first instead of pass. It’s got him on pace for a 119 points season and helping his team towards bringing a championship back to Broadway.
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