New York Islanders: Pros and Cons of UFA Artemi Panarin Suitors
New York Rangers
The immediate “pro” of playing for the Rangers is the money they could offer Panarin. By virtue of playing in the largest sports market in North America for so long, the Rangers are one of the most valuable franchises in the sport.
They won’t have an issue paying Panarin the money he wants. They’ll also have the resources to pay players to surround him with.
If Panarin joins the Rangers, he immediately becomes their best player and the center of their team. As such the Rangers will build their team around Panarin. That has to be appealing for Panarin.
He could have stayed in Columbus where he had a good supporting cast around him. But clearly, the resources in Columbus can’t match those that the Rangers have.
With all that being said, the Rangers were the second worst team in the division last season. With Panarin and the recent addition of Jacob Trouba and Kappo Kakko the Rangers certainly got better. But they’re still a playoff bubble team.
Can Panarin still be a point-per-game player playing alongside Mika Zabinejad? The Rangers roster is still missing pieces up front.
And there are certainly question marks around 37-year-old goalie Henrik Lundqvist who had a sub-par season in 2018-19 with a 3.07GAA and 0.907SV%.
The Rangers might not be in “win-now” mode for a few more years. If winning a cup as soon as possible is Panarin’s goal, the Rangers shouldn’t be his team.
There’s also a ton of pressure when playing for the Rangers. The media pressure around the Rangers is far greater than that of the Columbus Blue Jackets and higher than that of the Chicago Blackhawks. Again, it’s the biggest sports market in North America. Is Panarin ready?