With the 2022-23 NHL season settling in, the New York Rangers have found some of their offensive “groove” with multiple players finding opponent nets with the passing of each game. Artemi Panarin currently leads the NHL in scoring with 12 points and the big question is whether or not he will hit the magic 100 point mark this season.
The Breadman is hitting the sweet spots every game so far.
Artemi Panarin is on the verge of having an 100 point season and wth 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in just six games, he is on pace to reach or surpass that mark. In fact, Panarin is on pace to put up a staggering 164 total points this year which has only been done by Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux in NHL history. Panarin posted strong numbers in the Covid-shortened 2019-20 season with 95 total points in 69 games and last year had an equally strong 96 points (22 goals, 74 assists) in 75 games for the Blueshirts.
The question remains is whether or not Panarin can keep up this sustained offensive output or will the grind of the long NHL season take its toll and slow down the point numbers? Panarin has already scored at least one point in each of the six preceeding games but just like investment advisory clauses, “past performance is no guarantee of future success.)
Despite Panarin’s success, the Rangers have hit a bit of a slide recently and dipped down into a decent but not magnificent 3-2-1 overall record. The Rangers hit all the high notes on their opening night versus the Tampa Bay Lightning and have struggled to replicate that opening game success and have looked outwardly sluggish and out of touch with each other as a team.
Artemi Panarin continues to put up strong numbers including two 4-point games so far this season. In addition, the chemistry between Panarin and linemates Alexis Lafreniere and newcomer Vincent Trocheck is already paying dividends for the Rangers with Trocheck putting up six points ( two goals, four assists) and Lafreniere also contributing a goal and two assists early on this season. Panarin of course does not have to carry all the offensive weitght on his shoulder with Mika Zibanejad also adding eight total points to the Rangers goal-scoring machine.
Will point scoring records actually help the Rangers?
The most interesting aspect of whether Panarin will reach the 100 point mark likes in the fundamental playing scheme that head coach Gerard Gallant has espoused in his ten years in the NHL. Using a sound defense-first strategy, goal scoring is a secondary thought when lights out defenses can stall opponent offensive transitions in their tracks. In fact, Gallant has never had a 100 point scorer on any of his team rosters in his coaching career. As the old saying goes, offense wins games, defense wins championships and for Gerard Gallant and his Blueshirts, this season is about making it to the Stanley Cup finals. Point scoring is a great tool but nontheless a tool simply for winning games.
All fans have to do is look at the New York Yankees and their fixation on Aaron Judge’s quest for the American League home run record this season. Judge broke Roger Maris’ record and what did it do for the Yankees? They now have front-row television seats to the World Series. Point scoring records are great only if they help the Rangers hoist Lord Stanley’s cup next spring.