The seven-year $ 81.5 million contract Artemi Panarin signed with the Rangers as a free agent in July 2019 looked like a bargain after his first season on Broadway.
He did it Team not only with 95 points (32 goals, 63 assists) in 69 games, which was 20 points more than the second highest contribution in Mika Zibanejad, but Panarin also brought a presence on the ice that forced the opponents to know where he was was at all times. The Rangers have often been able to take advantage of this.
Now, for the first time in his career, the Breadman is going into the second season with the Rangers with a freshly embroidered « A » on his chest. His job is not only to maintain his production from last season he was a Hart Trophy finalist, but also to lead this young Rangers roster through an unpredictable 2020-21 season.
« It’s obvious very important, it’s a great feeling to be entrusted with such a responsibility, « said Panarin when he was appointed deputy captain. “I will do my best and try very hard to live up to it. But I’ve always tried to do my best on all teams and play my role to the best of my ability, so I don’t think anything is going to change from that point of view. But it’s great to be trustworthy. «
At the beginning of the training camp, Panarin said he felt he had a better feel for the team and its role within the organization. There was no » nervous energy « . He mentioned how he worked on the technical aspects of his Spiel worked in the hopes of making his game “more efficient and intelligent without wasting a lot of energy”.
Panarin admitted that he had felt some pressure last season, but owed his luck and his teammates to that he was able to handle it successfully. He said the pressure had not been so great this year and as a result, head coach David Quinn noticed a newfound enthusiasm for Panarin at this training camp.
Although he has not been so this shortened season has a lot of games to replicate its production from last year, Panarin knows that his game is at another level and he intends to reach it.
« Well, I always try to get to the next level « I always try to find new solutions, » he said Thursday before facing the islanders at Madison Square Garden. “I think I’ve got a new level and I’m trying my best.”
Panarin will likely be back on the left wing of the second line next to the center Ryan Strome, who built up chemistry with Panarin over the past season Earned $ 9 million in two year contract to keep going. And while Jesper Fast, who ran primarily on that line, went free-hand to join the Hurricanes, Kaapo Kakko appears to be getting the first right wing audition.
With Kakko just entering his second NHL season begins, Panarin will get its first crack when it comes to using that « A » sensibly.
« The attitude and work ethic have always been there, » Panarin said of Kakko. “He was always the toughest worker, staying on the ice longest among old teammates, so that was never a problem. I think he’s come back mentally stronger, he’s gradually adding technical improvements, but the mental strength is clear. «
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