On July 14, the NHL announced that Artemiy Panarin, Leon Draisaitl, and Nathan MacKinnon were finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award, the most outstanding player as voted by the NHLPA. On Tuesday, the trio were named finalists for the Hart Trophy given to the player most valuable to his team.
Leon Draisaitl, Nathan MacKinnon, and Artemi Panarin have been named finalists for the Hart Trophy.— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) July 21, 2020
Who do you think should win? pic.twitter.com/iJfpcwqYNe
A month ago MacKinnon said that Panarin should win the Hart Trophy, and now the Russian dynamo will have a chance to do so.
We’ve ranted and raved about Panarin’s accolades this season, and this nomination is well deserved.
With the regular season over, Panarin's final line is 32-63-95 in 69 games. His 1.38 P/GP is the fourth highest in team history among players who appeared in at least 41 games. I also included Zibanejad, as he finished 11th. 41-34-75 in 57 games. Data via @hockey_ref pic.twitter.com/8oJyfkyC5t— Tom Urtz Jr. (@TomUrtzJr) May 26, 2020
Panarin dominated at a level the Rangers haven’t seen in quite sometime, including leading the league in even strength points, goals. wins, and standings points above replacement.
Not only was he a force in the offensive zone, but Panarin made his impact known in the defensive and neutral zones, which often times resulted in him generating offensive chances for the Rangers.
Panarin just scored, but this play getting back defensively is one of the other little things he does which makes him special. pic.twitter.com/hWCGrb1zQ3— Tom Urtz Jr. (@TomUrtzJr) February 10, 2020
He was everything the team needed him to be, and more. With hindsight following the CBA extension agreed to several weeks ago, the timing of the signing is very fortuitous for New York given the flattening of the salary cap in the coming years.
When you view Panarin’s contributions in all facets of the game, he should be the clear favorite. This isn’t to takeaway from the spectacular offensive season Draisaitl had, or what MacKinnon accomplished for a battered and bruised Colorado Avalanche squad.
But Panarin doing what he did in his first season in New York speaks to the tremendous impact he had on the Rangers, as does the fact of what he did to elevate the games of players like Ryan Strome and Jesper Fast. This isn’t to say that Panarin didn’t benefit from playing with Mika Zibanejad on the power play, but the same can be said of Draisaitl with Connor McDavid.
Much like Adam Fox’s Calder snub, Panarin not winning the Hart takes nothing away from the tremendous season he had. But if I were a betting man, I’d say Panarin odds are higher to win the Ted Lindsay than the Hart, but I feel he still has a fighting chance for the Hart.
Panarin would be the fifth Ranger to win the Hart and the first since Mark Messier in 1992, coincidentally also his first season in New York. Here is a list in reverse-chronological order of Rangers who were nominated and/or won the Hart Trophy
- 2011-12: Henrik Lundqvist - 3rd place
- 2005-06: Jaromir Jagr - 2nd place
- 1995-96: Mark Messier - 2nd place
- 1991-92: Mark Messier - Winner
- 1966-67: Ed Giacomin - 2nd place
- 1961-62: Doug Harvey - 2nd place
- 1958-59: Andy Bathgate - Winner
- 1957-58: Andy Bathgate - 2nd place
- 1956-57: Andy Bathgate - 3rd place
- 1955-56: Gump Worsley - 3rd place
- 1949-50: Chuck Rayner - Winner
- 1947-48: Buddy O’Connor - Winner
- 1932-33: Bill Cook - 2nd place
- 1931-32: Ivan Johnson - 2nd place
- 1926-27 Bill Cook - 2nd place
The majority of this list is from the Original Six era, and it speaks to the lack of elite players up front in most of the modern era. But this year — and the next six after it — the Rangers have Panarin who gives them a great chance to capture some form of hardware. And six more years of tearing it up vs. the New York Islanders, a team that offered him $12.5 million a season, before he ultimately signed with the Blueshirts.
Make it a five point, five point, five point, five point, five point game for Panarin. pic.twitter.com/kTDmpGB4At— Tom Urtz Jr. (@TomUrtzJr) January 14, 2020
All of that said, congratulations to Panarin, and here’s hoping he gets this