Panarin's Future in New York: Will the Rangers Trade Their Star Winger After a Stellar Season?

Despite a career-defining year from Artemi Panarin and a deep playoff run, the New York Rangers fell short of their ultimate goal – hoisting the Stanley Cup. Now, with the offseason in full swing, questions swirl around the team's future, and one of the biggest involves Panarin himself. Will the Rangers consider trading their star winger?
Arizona Coyotes v New York Rangers
Arizona Coyotes v New York Rangers / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Panarin's Performance: A Double-Edged Sword

The 31-year-old forward enjoyed a phenomenal 2023-24 season, putting up a league-leading 115 points (47 goals, 68 assists) in the regular season and continuing his offensive dominance in the playoffs. This begs the question: why would the Rangers even contemplate trading such a talent?

Here's the rub: Panarin carries a hefty $11.6 million AAV contract for the next four years. While his offensive production is undeniable, some analysts believe his hefty salary could hinder the team's ability to address other pressing needs [Blueshirt Banter].

Rangers' Offseason Priorities

General Manager Chris Drury faces a crucial offseason. Re-signing restricted free agents Kaapo Kakko and Filip Chytil is paramount. Additionally, securing Vezina-caliber goaltender Igor Shesterkin's long-term future is a non-negotiable. Addressing the defensive depth and finding a top-line winger alongside Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider are also high on the Rangers' priority list [The Hockey Writers].

The Trade Market and Panarin's Value

Panarin, despite his age, remains a highly coveted commodity. A trade could potentially free up significant cap space for the Rangers to address their other needs. However, acquiring a player of Panarin's caliber would likely require a hefty package of prospects and/or draft picks in return [Sportsnet].

The Verdict: A Difficult Decision Looms

The decision to trade Panarin will not be taken lightly by Drury. It's a complex equation that weighs his on-ice production against the team's financial flexibility and overall roster construction. Ultimately, the Rangers will need to assess if they can build a championship-caliber team with Panarin's hefty contract on the books.

Eyes on the Future: Rangers Committed to Contention

Regardless of Panarin's future, one thing remains clear: the Rangers are determined to take the next step and compete for the Stanley Cup. Only time will tell if Panarin will be a part of that journey, but New York hockey fans can expect an exciting and potentially transformative offseason for their beloved Blueshirts.

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