In case you missed it, rumors spread yesterday that Artemi Panarin’s preferred destination is New York and the Rangers. That’s good stuff. I like it. It makes me excited. Since it’s the first day of September, it’s great we get to start the day with some solid Rangers rumors. As usual, I have some thoughts.
1. Panarin represents elite talent that the Rangers sorely need. We don’t know if any of the prospects will turn into Panarin, even though there is a solid chance of that happening. Either way, having too much elite talent is never a problem. Should Panarin reach free agency next year, hopefully he takes a Kevin Shattenkirk discount.
2. That last sentence is the critical one. There is no point in the Rangers trading for him. None. Zero. This is not a year they are competing, thus giving up tangible assets for him would be silly. It would be like the Knicks trading for Melo way back when.
3. Of course, that doesn’t mean Columbus shouldn’t try to trade him. If he’s not going to stay, get something for him. A contending team out west could probably use him for a last ditch Cup run. But as long as it isn’t the Rangers trading for him, we should be good.
4. Back to that elite thing, Panarin is an elite player. Panarin will be 27 at free agency next year, and he’s a point per game player. These guys don’t grow on trees. Whatever the five first round picks become, adding Panarin won’t hurt their chances of reaching their potential. There is nothing wrong with jump starting that rebuild.
5. Last thought on Panarin: I wonder how much he jump starts the rebuild. If you assume Mats Zuccarello re-signs (I’m going to assume he does, whether he is traded or not), then the magic those two can work with basically any center (Chytil?) would be something to see. Combine that with the KZB line, and you have a legitimate top-six, solid forward depth in the bottom six, and –as far as we know as of today– an elite goaltender. A lot of this depends on the growth of the kids, specifically Chytil/Andersson, but it’s worth keeping an eye on."Some thoughts on Artemi Panarin",