Admin note: With the regular season officially over, we are going to transition to some offseason content while we wait for the 24 team playoff. Usually we would do player report cards by position, but since there isn’t much going on and we can only write so much about the pending matchup with Carolina, it makes sense to go a little more in depth with each player review.
Admin note 2: I made the decision to temporarily ban anyone using a proxy or VPN for the time being. This is due to one user repeatedly changing their proxy location, usually in Thailand. The setting right now should ban that person from commenting, but if that does not work I will do a full ban on viewing the website. I know it isn’t ideal, but it should be temporary.
Artemi Panarin was the biggest prize of the offseason. It isn’t often that a player of his caliber hits unrestricted free agency, and the Rangers snatched him up with a monster offer. The pressure was on Panarin to deliver, and boy did he ever. Panarin put up a season worthy of Hart Trophy consideration, leading the Rangers in most major scoring categories (32-63-95), accounting for 15% of the Rangers’ total offense this season.
You don’t need the above shot heatmap to know that the Rangers were a significantly better team offensively with Panarin than without, but it certainly drives that point home. Without Panarin, the Rangers are a below average offensive team. With him – one of the most potent offenses in the league.
But it’s also the defensive impact that shows how much Panarin means to this team. A good offense is the best defense, and the Rangers really control the tempo with Panarin on the ice. It’s worth noting that the Rangers weren’t the best defensively, but at least with Panarin on the ice they spent the majority of the time in the offensive zone. If you have the puck, the other team can’t score.
Panarin was even better than advertised, which is an incredible feat given the lofty expectations. If the Rangers don’t get him this past summer, then there’s a good chance they are one of the seven teams on the outside of the 24 team playoffs.