Artemi Panarin’s professional year flies under the radar

17 February 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers (10) left winger Artemi Panarin (10) skates before the opening game against the Detroit Red Wings at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers’ 2021-22 season was highlighted by the team’s overall success thanks to Igor Shesterkin’s MVP season and Chris Kreider became the fourth Rangers to score 50 goals. But in the shadows, another guard was doing amazing things. Artemi Panarin has had a great season. He’s on the cusp of getting 100 points for the first time in his career and he’s arguably having a better season than when he was nominated and denied the MVP award in 2019.

Since coming to the NHL from KHL, Artemi Panarin has been very impressive. In his seven-year career, last season was the only time he didn’t break 70 points, due to COVID and a vacation after taking a political hit against him. He currently sits at 92 points, and Panarin is only three points away from making the 95 points of his career he scored in 2019. For a period of the season, Panarin looked distant but since the “Olympic” hiatus he has looked like him again.

When the national media talk about Rangers, they usually only mention Igor Shesterkin and the season of the best player in the world. Panarin is talked about because of the player he is but rarely how good the season he’s been in. I remember in the beginning of March I was looking up his stats because someone said he was having a down year. At the time he had about 80 points and I had no idea.

Jonathan Huberdeau has been named All-Season Player of the Year nominee. He broke a mysterious record, the most assists in a season by a left winger, when he scored 71 assists this season. The previous record was 70 held by Joe Juno and Huberdo had already smashed 81 assists. This season the old record will be long forgotten as both Johnny Goudreau and Artemi Panarin have already tied it up. Although their seasons have been linked with record-breaking, only Huberdeau has been recognized. Panarin is also the first goalkeeper since Wayne Gretzky in 1996-97 to hit 70 assists. Panarin put on a pass and showed why he’s one of the best passers in the league.

Artemi Panarin’s stellar season has been under the radar all year long. He has the status of being the most underrated superstar in the NHL. Panarin is rarely mentioned by the national media even though he currently sits 10th in the NHL in points. With five games remaining, Panarin needs eight points to break the 100-point mark for the first time ever. If Panarin gets 100 points, he will be the first goalkeeper since Jaromir J├Ąger to do so. Can he get those last eight points in five matches?

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