New York Rangers: Artemi Panarin is firmly in the Hart Trophy conversation

The New York Rangers have a potential Hart Trophy candidate in Artemi Panarin.
New York Rangers v Buffalo Sabres
New York Rangers v Buffalo Sabres / Kevin Hoffman/GettyImages
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The New York Rangers are one of the best teams in the National Hockey League right now. They demonstrated some of their dominance on Saturday night when they took on the Tampa Bay Lightning.

New York defeated Tampa Bay 5-1 at Amalie Arena. It was a great win for the Rangers as they expanded on their lead in the Metropolitan Division

One of the key players in this game was Artemi Panarin. He scored a hat trick which was a big reason why the Rangers won the game. It was one of his most impressive games of the season. Honestly, it was one of his best games as a New York Ranger. 

Right now, Panarin has to be in the early Hart Trophy conversations. He is right there for being the most valuable player to his team right now. The Rangers would be good without him but he is helping them look like a legit Stanley Cup threat at this moment in time. 

The New York Rangers may have the league MVP on their team right now.

If Panarin were to win the MVP, that would mean he beat out a lot of really good players in this league for it. Right now, he is third in league scoring with 50 points. He is also tied for fourth in goals with 23. By the end of the year, he should be well north of 40 goals and 100 points. 

Guys like Nikita Kucherov, Auston Matthews, Connor McDavid, Jack Hughes, Nathan MacKinnon, and David Pastrnak are all going for that MVP award but Panarin is certainly in the mix. 

Panarin is dangerous because he is elite in all aspects of offense when he has the puck on his stick. He is very much a threat to snipe it and make incredible passes. His skating legs are going well so far this season and he is making others around him better as a result. 

The Rangers are led by Panarin in scoring with his aforementioned 50 points. Their second-leading scorer is Mika Zibanejad who has 37 points.

That is not a bad total for points but it is a major drop-off from what Panarin provides. That could be something that goes in his favor if it stays that way by the time they are voting for the Hart Trophy. 

Panarin will hope to see this success continue well into 2024. The Rangers are done for the 2023 colander and they will open the new year with a big one against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday. Expect Panarin to be on top of his game all year long.

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