Last night the New York Rangers put an absolute beating down against the Long Island Islanders with the help of future MVP Artemi Panarin. The Bread Man ties his career high with 5 points in last nights game. He had 2 grapes and 3 apples.
What makes this even sweeter is that it came against the Islanders. For those of you who forgot, Panarin was offered more money by the Islanders, but settled with the Rangers because they actually have a home rink. Panarin is signed for 8 years $81.5 million with the Rags.
Panarin has exploded this year in terms of production. In 45 games Arti has notched 26 goals and 41 assists. On pace to surpass his season high of 87 points last year. He is third in the league in total points (behind the duo in Edmonton) and is first in the league in 5v5 points.
What makes this so special is that he has done this on a team that is in the middle of a rebuild. It’s no secret the Rangers lack depth up front. Lack consistency on defense. Besides stellar goaltending, Panarin is basically the only reason this team is sniffing a wild card. He has put the Rangers on his back and made them relevant in a year that was supposed to find them at the bottom of the barrel.
There doesn’t seem to be any signs of slowing down for the Bread Man. He has found chemistry with center Ryan Strome and winger Jesper Fast. Not exactly the line mates you’d expect from a 100+ point player. Which is why I had to acknowledge this performance thus far and point out that as of now, it’s hard not consider Panarin for the Hart Memorial Trophy given to the player most valuable to his team.