The 2021-22 New York Rangers season has been highlighted by the overall success of the team thanks to Igor Shesterkin’s MVP season and Chris Kreider becoming only the fourth Ranger to score 50 goals. But in the shadows there has been another Ranger doing amazing things. Artemi Panarin has had an fantastic season. He’s on the verge on 100 points for the first time in his career and is arguably having a better season than when he was nominated and robbed of an MVP award in 2019.
Since coming over to the NHL from the KHL, Artemi Panarin has been pretty great. In his seven year career, last season was the only time he did he not crack 70 points, due to COVID and a leave of absence following a political hit piece being put out against him. Currently sitting at 92 points, Panarin is only three points away from tying his career high 95 points which he set in 2019. For a stretch of the season Panarin looked off but since the “Olympic” break he has looked like himself again.
When the national media talks about the Rangers they typically only mention Igor Shesterkin and the MVP season he is having. Panarin is talked about because of the player he is but just how good of a season he is having is rarely talked about. I remember at the beginning of March looking up his stats cause someone had said he was having a down year. At the time he had about 80 points and I had no idea.
Jonathan Huberdeau has been considered an MVP candidate all season long. He broke a obscure record, the most assists in a season by a left winger, when he recorded his 71st assists of the season. The previous record was 70 held by Joe Juneau and Huberdeau has shattered it, already with 81 assists. This season the old record will be long forgotten because both Johnny Gaudreau and Artemi Panarin have already tied it. Despite tying their record-breaking seasons, only Huberdeau has been acknowledged. Panarin is also the first Ranger since Wayne Gretzky in 1996-97 to reach 70 assists. Panarin has put on a passing display and shown why he is one of the leagues best passers.
Artemi Panarin’s stellar season has flown under the radar all year long. He has a case that he is the most underrated superstar in the NHL. Panarin is hardly ever mentioned by the national media although he currently sits 10th in the NHL in points. With five games left Panarin need eight points to eclipse the 100 point mark for the first time ever. If Panarin does get to 100 points he would be the first Ranger since Jaromir Jagr to do so. So can he get those last eight points in five games?