Monday, July 1, 2019

Artemi Panarin Jersey Card

The best player available via free agency this season was without a doubt Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin. At 27 years of age, he's smack-dab in the meat of his prime years, with an estimated five more years of top-notch production ahead of himself.

His journey for the past six seasons has been exceptional going from a 20-goal scorer to a 1.2-point-per-game player in the KHL to being groomed in the NHL by none other than the Chicago Blackhawks' Patrick Kane - hitting the 30-goal mark in consecutive seasons by his side - to emerging as a star in his own right by eclipsing his Hawks numbers in Columbus with 82- and 87-point seasons.

And while most of Planet Hockey speculated that he was headed to the Miami suburbs to sign with the Florida Panthers alongside fellow Russian and Jackets teammate Sergei Bobrosvky - based mostly on the fact that the pair now share the same agent - Panarin instead caught Big City Fever and signed with the New York Rangers instead, signing an $81.5M deal for seven seasons; his $11.64M cap hit is reportedly lower than the Jackets' final offer as well as what the New York Islanders had offered him.

In just a couple of weeks, the Rangers acquired top-pairing defenseman Jacob Trouba via trade, drafted Kaapo Kakko second overall and signed Panarin, accelerating their rebuild by two or three seasons. They'll still be a long-shot to make the playoffs in 2019-20 in a stacked Metropolitan Division, but the following five or six years should be aimed at a Stanley Cup bid.

Speaking of which, here's a nice card I acquired via trade last month, #DA-AP from Upper Deck's 2018-19 Artifacts set and Divisional Artifacts sub-set:
It features Panarin wearing the Blue Jackets' blue (home) uniform, with a matching game-worn jersey swatch.

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