Artemi Panarin was having a great rookie season, and then it seemed like the Chicago Blackhawks 2nd line decided to take the month of March off with Panarin, Artem Anisimov, and Patrick Kane all slumping compared to the rest of their regular season numbers as the team slumped in wins. All year long fans have been asking for balance in the Chicago Blackhawks scoring, but in the end the Chicago Blackhawks have been a better team when the duo of Panarin and Kane are clicking.
Going into this weekend’s games there was plenty of talk about how both Connor McDavid and Shayne Gostisbehere had passed Panrin in the Calder Trophy rankings. This talk seemed comical to me since Panarin had led the rookie scoring lead for basically the entire season and nobody had ever got close to him. Granted McDavid missed half the season with a broken clavicle, but this has been the year of the Breadman.
So after a 10 game lull in scoring for Panarin and him dropping to third in most experts ranking for the Calder Trophy, the Chicago Blackhawks rookie went on a tear this weekend. First he scored 2 goals including a late third period game tying goal against the Winnipeg Jets where he also provided 2 assists including the game winning assist in overtime to Brent Seabrook. With this four point night, Panarin joined Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin as the only rookies since 2005 to have 8 or more three point nights in their rookie campaign.
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Then came Sunday morning at the United Center when Panarin along with Kane put on a show in the first two periods in their 6-4 win over the Boston Bruins. Panarin had a goal and three assists on Sunday and here is the final assist of the night when he set up Kane for his 2nd hat trick of the season and oh by the way his 100th point of the 2015-2016 year.
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Now after those two games and 8 points, Panarin is the #1 Star of the NHL this week and this two game performance should shut the door on any conversation on who should be the Calder Trophy favorite. One other thing is the argument that Panarin is 24 while the other rookies are in their late teens or early 20’s, well that is the rules provided by the NHL so Panarin with a 20 point lead on 2nd place in the rookie standings should have to defend anything he has done this year.
Panarin is your #1 Star of the Week and the #1 Rookie of the year!