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NHL: Blackhawks' Panarin Keeps Rookie #1 Title in Calder Race
January 17, 2016 20:00


Photo Credit: http://www.rg.ru
Artemi Panarin might be a few years older than other first-year players in the NHL this season, “but the fact that he's been able to process, adjust and excel on the smaller ice in his first season in North America is a pretty remarkable feat nonetheless,” according to the NHL official website.
"The chemistry between Panarin, Kane and Anisimov is off the charts," Blackhawks senior director of amateur scouting Mark Kelley told NHL.com. "That line was put together in training camp and here it is still. [Blackhawks coach] Joel Quenneville is known for fixing lines but the chemistry on this line has been dynamite."
Panarin, 24, also has been the perfect complement for right wing Patrick Kane on Chicago's second line, centered by Artem Anisimov. When Kane and Panarin are on the ice together at even strength they control more than 50 percent of shot attempts.
When Kane went on his 26-game point streak, Panarin had seven goals and 24 points to play a vital part. He also had a 61.8 shot attempts-for percentage and 2.90 points per 60 minutes during that stretch.
"We had high expectations but he landed in the country running and he's still running," Kelley said. "I think it speaks to the kid and his talent and work ethic. He didn't come to the NHL to see America; he came to play."
That level of play makes him the front-runner for the Calder Trophy at the midway point of the season.
"He's scored some big goals and I'm sure you'll see that more as his career goes on [with] the Blackhawks," Kane said. "He'll become a better player. Sky's the limit for that kid."
Before joining the Blackhawks in 2015-16, Panarin spent two seasons playing with men in the Kontinental Hockey League for SKA St. Petersburg.
Five teams chased Russian left-wing forward Artemi Panarin, and while those players often go to teams where they know they’ll play and play a lot, Panarin had enough confidence in his own abilities that he chose to go to the champs. He’s been an absolute massive addition, far more than even the Hawks believed he’d be, and a key element in Kane’s incredible season as Chicago’s second leading scorer.
It's also worth noting that Panarin is 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds, so it isn't as if he can bull his way through defenders. He must find creative ways of working around the opposition, either beating them 1-on-1 or taking them wide. Buffalo Sabres rookie Jack Eichel and Panarin rank Nos. 1-2 in average ice time among rookie forwards, but Panarin leads all rookies in goals, assists, points and power-play points.
Watch the last game’s highlights where Panarin scored on the power play and assisted on two of Kane's goals for the Blackhawks (30-13-4) earning their 10th straight win with a 4-1 victory in Toronto on Friday night.
 

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Author: Mikhail Vesely

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