Set the bar high for Rangers superstar, Artemi Panarin
The Breadman is in New York City and the dough has risen to the spotlight, figuratively and literally, with the star winger signing a 7 year 81.5 million dollar contract with the Rangers.
Many sighed at the idea of shelling out huge sums for a superstar, citing the Blueshirts history with bad contracts in the past. But, no disrespect to any of those players, Artemi Panarin is an elite talent hitting his stride.
In the prime of his career, the Rangers have landed a speedy, uber-talented, sneaky, elusive, scorer and play-maker. He is a player at a level that the Rangers have not seen since Jaromir Jagr or maybe even further back.
But we must be careful with our expectations. As amazing as Panarin is, he isn’t quite McDavid or Kucherov, and we probably shouldn’t expect 120 points out of him. That said, that is not a far fetched possibility whatsoever in my opinion.
Panarin is going to have every opportunity to succeed in a blue sweater while skating alongside guys like Mika Zibanejad, Pavel Buchnevich, Kaapo Kakko, Vitali Kravtsov, Filip Chytil, and Jacob Trouba. And what comes around goes around. He will likewise play a huge role in the performance and development of those around him.
The dynamic winger will be on the first powerplay unit, so you have to figure that he’s going to help drastically improve that unit alongside several of the above mentioned names. But he is also going to provide a level of even strength finishing ability that the Rangers haven’t had in eons.
With Kreider likely to be traded, potentially followed by Vladislav Namestnikov, Panarin will be skating alongside Mika Zibanejad and one of Kakko, Buchnevich, or Kravtsov. Any of these combinations would help to create a possibly lethal play-making first line.
I think Panarin is going prove that the $11.642 million the Rangers are paying him this year is well worth it. He is an elite talent, and while maybe not being a 100 point player yet, he has the ability to be one.
Prediction: 33G-65A, 98 Points
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