Despite being seemingly out of the race for Artemi Panarin yesterday, the Rangers have inked their man. They have signed the elite winger to a monster deal. The seven year, $81.2 million deal comes with an $11.6 million cap hit (14% of the cap ceiling this year). The contract will take Panarin through his age-34 season.
Panarin, 27, has been a point per game player since signing with Chicago out of the KHL in 2015. Last season, he put up 28-59-87 in 79 games with Columbus. He’s the bonafide elite scorer that the Rangers have needed. He’s also the ceiling for guys like Kaapo Kakko and Vitali Kravtsov, something you hope the top-ten picks grow into.
With the deal, the Rangers have about $8 million in cap space left to ink RFAs Jacob Trouba, Brendan Lemieux, Pavel Buchnevich, and Tony DeAngelo. There is a need for cap space, so I doubt the Rangers are done. The Rangers have landed the biggest fish of the day, and the second biggest free agent in the salary cap era.