It’s Canada Day and that means that the free agent signing frenzy is well underway. And that means that the landscape of several NHL teams has changed in an instant, including the New York Rangers thanks to the signing of Artemi Panarin.
The Rangers signed the former Columbus Blue Jacket to a seven-year contract worth $81.5 million, the team announced Monday.
Panarin is coming off a career year with the Blue Jackets, scoring 28 goals and a total of 87 points. He held on throughout the season and into a playoff run with Columbus, but it was almost always apparent that the Bread Man was not going to re-up in Ohio.
Panarin was offered an extension by the Blue Jackets but turned it down. According to reports, that contract offer was for eight years to the tune of $96 million.
Panarin had been eligible to sign with the Jackets since July 1 of last year but the two sides just couldn’t get it together. That didn’t stop the 27-year-old from contributing to Columbus’ run, including an 11-point stint in the post-season that featured a sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round.
Panarin is one of those rare hockey stories in that he went undrafted into the NHL before signing his entry level deal with the Chicago Blackhawks in April of 2015. He won the Calder Trophy that season with 77 points in 80 games.
Panarin’s Calder win is still notable in that he defeated the likes of Shayne Gostisbehere, Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel as the NHL’s best rookie that year.
In 322 NHL games, Panarin has 320 points – including 116 goals and 204 assists. In 27 playoff games, he has 26 points.
(Lead photo credit: NHL)