Artemiy Panarin had a Hart Trophy worthy year in 2019-20, but was ultimately snubbed by voters finishing third for the award. Heading into the season fans were hopeful that Panarin would continue to dazzle with a high level of play, and help the New York Rangers push for the playoffs.
Panarin got off to a strong start tallying 18 points in the Blueshirts first 14 games played in January and February, missing two games with a lower-body injury in February. He then took a leave of absence at the end of February following a situation in which allegations were made against him.
Breaking news: Panarin is taking a leave of absence from NYR in aftermath of political hit piece against him from Russia alleging that he beat up an 18-year-old girl in Russia in 2011.— Larry Brooks (@NYP_Brooksie) February 22, 2021
Retribution was feared after Panarin's Instagram post on 1/21 in support of opposition leader Alexi Navalny with caption "Freedom for Navalny." Panarin, who has family in Russia, has been outspoken against Putin.— Larry Brooks (@NYP_Brooksie) February 22, 2021
Panarin returned after missing nine games, and went on a tear which saw him score 12 goals while adding 26 assists for 38 points in 26 games. His season then ended in May after he was thrown to the ice violently by Tom Wilson, and his final line stood at 17-41-58 which was good for a points per game average of 1.38, the same mark he set the year prior.
In terms of catch-all above replacement stats, Panarin ended the year 7th on the team in Goals Above Replacement with a mark of 6.7, while also being worth 1.2 Wins Above Replacement according to Evolving-Hockey. His worth was driven by offensive contributions, as his offensive GAR was 7.7, whereas his defensive GAR was -2.1.
Panarin finished 2nd among regulars with a Goals For Percentage of 59.8 at 5v5, 3rd in Corsi For Percentage (50.33), and 10th in Expected Goals For Percentage (48.93). Analytically it was a bit of a down year for Panarin in some respects, but this year was a strange one because of COVID-19, and there’s also the fact of what he was dealing with off the ice. It is obvious the type of player Panarin is and what he means to the Rangers, so there’s not a real reason to be too concerned with the slight dip.
Lastly, here’s a visual look at his end of year player card, and how he ranked among other players in the league.
Grade: A | Banter Consensus: A
Panarin got an A+ last season for being one of the top three players in the league as a Hart Trophy finalist. He was exceptional again for the Rangers, and the one thing that keeps him from earning an A+ again is the drop in some of his defensive metrics. That said, Panarin is a top-three player at his position, and a top-10 player in the NHL as a whole.
Two years in Panarin has been as advertised and more, and it is fair to say that fans are very interested in seeing what he can do during the 2021-22 season which will be his first opportunity of skating a full season for the Rangers, as his first two were shortened because of COVID-19. I’d bet on Panarin having another MVP-level season in 2021-22, and I imagine he’ll be rejuvenated from a regular offseason.