Blackhawks trusted in Panarin from the start
Which other potential Rookie this Year candidate has gotten the kind of consistent minutes that Panarin has? He was not a top draft pick like McDavid or Eichel, looking to change the course of an organization, so he didn’t have the “savior” tag on him when he joined his team. When he joined the Blackhawks, Panarin was a question mark of a talent. Young and doing well in Russia with the KHL’s St. Petersburg SKA club, many didn’t know how his skills would translate to the North American game on a smaller NHL-sized rink.
Out of training camp, Panarin opened the season on the wing of a veteran and fellow Russian Artem Anisimov, opposite of Kane on the Blackhawks’ second-line. He also has been seeing time on the Blackhawks’ top powerplay unit with Kane since early in the year and has been a staple on both the top powerplay group and the second line for the whole season.
Seeing the trust that the coaching staff has had in Panarin all year and how that has translated to the success of the team and the individual success of both Kane and Anisimov, the latter of whom is on his way to having a career year as well, is unmatched by any other rookie in this season’s crop.
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