New York Rangers: How does Panarin compare to the NHL elite?

Now that the New York Rangers have made Artemi Panarin the second highest paid player in the NHL, is he worth it?

The numbers are big.  $81.5 million dollars over seven years.  $11.642 million dollars a year. That’s what the New York Rangers committed to Artemi Panarin.   In doing so, he is behind only Connor McDavid‘s $12.5 million when it comes to the Average Annual Value (AAV) that will count against the team’s salary cap.  Does he deserve the big payout?

Let’s make one thing clear.  He is a New  York Ranger.  The contract is signed and the money is committed. If you were opposed to it, it’s useless to complain about the deal, it’s done. We probably won’t know if he will be worth it until 2026 when the contract expires.  The only caveat is if they Rangers win a Stanley Cup . Then there will be no doubt, it was a good signing. But how good a player is he?

Without any doubt, Artemi Panarin is one of the best offensive players in the NHL.  If you wanted to draft a player of his ability, it would take a top three pick.  But is there a way to quantify how good he actually is?

The best of the best

Who are the best forwards in the NHL?  I came up with a list of the top 31 forwards in the NHL over the last seven seasons (2012-13 to 2018-19). This is how the list was compiled.

First, for scoring prowess, I took all of the players in those years who finished in the top twenty in points in a season.  To add in their value to their teams I added the top five Hart Trophy vote-getters in each of those seven seasons.  To keep defensive forwards in the mix, I also took the top five vote-getters for the Selke Trophy, awarded to the best defensive forward.   Calder Trophy consideration was included and finally I also added the top five All-Star vote-getters at each of the three forward positions.

The most times a player could appear on these lists is 28 (29 if he was a rookie between 2013 and 2019).  Needless to say, no one made it every time, but Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin clearly lived up to their reputations.

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