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Artemi Panarin ranked top-winger by NHL Network, can he repeat?

November 11, 2020, 9:42 AM ET [74 Comments]
Jan Levine
New York Rangers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Artemi Panarin, thanks to his brilliant debut campaign on Broadway, was voted as the best winger in the league by the NHL Network. That nomination continues what was a magical 2019-20 season, which included a Top-3 finish in the Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award voting. Now for the fun question, can he do it again?

We all know the superlatives from last season, much of which was highlighted when the finalists for the awards were announced. This is what I wrote in April in my Panarin evaluation: "Go back to last July when some felt that $11.642 mil for the next seven seasons was an overpayment. Ask most if not all now if they have the same view and you should get a different answer. He gives New York a bona fide superstar, a game-breaker, which every elite team or squad that wants to be elite needs.

Panarin is the team's home-run hitter. He slowed slightly in terms of goal-scoring the last month prior to the cessation of the season, scoring just four goals, including none the last eight games before the break. But he already set new career highs in goals (32) and assists (63) through the first 69 games of the 2019-20 campaign. In addition, Panarin already tied his career high in power-play points (24) while working on New York's top unit."

It's one subset from the paragraph above that drove question #15 of my top-25 offseason questions, see list below: "Are you concerned with Artemiy Panarin's small late-season swoon? No goals in the last eight games before the pandemic and just one goal in the three-game sweep?" I do admit, I am mildly concerned, maybe not for reasons that would be apparent.

Last season, Panarin came in with a chip on his shoulder to prove his worth. In addition, he helped carry the team when Mika Zibanejad was sidelined, then with Zib when Kreider was out. This season, we all believe the Rangers have more depth for the top-nine, including first overall pick Alexis Lafreniere. His addition coupled with the hoped for/expected growth from Kaapo Kakko and Filip Chytil should reduce the burden on Panarin. 

His "late-season swoon," which carried into the play-in round versus Carolina was mildly concerning. But those were small sample sizes, so they are not a big driver of my view. The uplift in talent on the roster coupled with just how magical last season are why I think Panarin will still have a very good year, but maybe not at last year's level. This is also why I am unsure he repeats as the "best wing" in the NHL.  

Here is the list again of the top-25 off-season questions. Some of have been covered directly, others tangentially in blogs related to the individuals within individual questions. My plan is to complete the remaining questions prior to the start of training camp, whenever that will be. My ask of you is if you want to run blogs daily with the news of the day. For example, yesterday had Alexis Lafreniere with the ping-pong ball, the quick snippet of the reverse retro jersey and the Rangers teasing the longer draft video. Happy to collate and consolidate that info with my take - if one is needed - if there is interest.

1) Should-Ryan-Strome-be-brought-back-and-if-so-what-kind-of-deal -(also, will getting Lafreniere result in New York moving a winger to get a 2c, making Strome expendable)
2) Has Jesper Fast played his last game as a Blueshirt?
3) Did Tony DeAngelo price himself out of the team's plans with his regular season or did his price tab dip enough due to his poor series versus Carolina? (update: does his hamstring injury during the play-in round need to be taken into consideration)?
4) Is David Quinn the right coach for the team moving forward? How concerning is his inability to adjust in-game and between games? If no, who might be under consideration? (update: does he need to make the playoffs and/or win a round, due to winning the lottery and sweep at the hands of Carolina, to keep his job?)
5) Can Should we prepare the jersey raising for Henrik Lundqvist now? (update: did anything JD said convince you that he might be back next season?)

6) Can Filip Chytil be the second line center if Strome is not brought back? (update: is his future at center or wing?
7) With Nils Lundkvist and K'Andre Miller in the pipeline, does New York have enough D to get to the next level?
8) Will Vitali Kravtsov be in the Opening Night lineup?
9) Is Pavel Buchnevich now "expendable" due to Lafreniere coming on board or will the Rangers regret dealing him based on his untapped potential? (new)
10) Do the Rangers need to name a captain? If so, should that be Mika Zibanejad or Chris Kreider? Regardless of your view, did Kreider's comments in the Game 3 press conference sway your view?

11) Which is the true Brett Howden, the one that did little from October to March or the one we saw against Carolina?
12) Do you view the three-game sweep as a good learning experience, as mentioned by several including Davidson, for the neophytes on the team or is it too early to make that call?
13) Were you satisfied with the growth seen from Kappo Kakko and what's your realistic view as to what we should expect in years 2 and 3?
14) If Lundqvist is not back, do you want Alexandar Georgiev as Igor Shesterkin's 2020-21 backup or are you dealing him for additional assets? If bringing him back next year, are you signing him for more than one season?
15) Are you concerned with Artemiy Panarin's small late-season swoon? No goals in the last eight games before the pandemic and just one goal in the three-game sweep?

16) What is the identity of this Rangers' team? Do we know? Is one needed?
17) Can Brendan Lemiuex repeat how he played in Game 3 against Carolina or was that the aberration and not the norm?
18) What should be done with Lias Andersson? (from Tommy G on 8/7) 
19) Who will be Jacob Trouba's partner next season if it's not Smith? (from Tommy G on 8/7)
20) How does the looming Expansion Draft affect the decision made for a particular signing/trade/buyout? (from Hedgedog 8/8)

21) If buying one player out, presuming that it's not Lundqvist for a variety of reasons, is it Staal or Smith, or do you not buyout anyone?
22) Presuming Lafreniere is the pick, on which line does he start the season? If New York makes no major acquisitions, what is your top-nine and fourth line? Is Morgan Barron on the team to start the season? (new) 23) Who do you want to target in free agency or via trade? (please be realistic in your proposals. That applies to who New York could get and what they would give up, so no 4-for-1 offers where the team grossly overpays. (new)
24) Does Gord Murphy end up on the coaching staff for 2020-21 or is someone else brought in to helm the defense and the penalty kill? (new)
25) When do you think New York contends for the Cup? 2021-22, 22-23 or other? (new)

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