Russian rookie sensation, Artemi Panarin, nets three big ones on Wednesday night vs New York for his first NHL hat trick. This is the first time that a Blackhawks player has notched a three-game night in his rookie season since 2002 with Tyler Arnason.

Panarin already had a massive lead in the scoring race for the Calder trophy, which is given to the rookie selected as “the most proficient” at the end of the year. With 54 points going into the game, and adding three more after tonight, Panarin is now ranked fifth among all players in the league for points scored and increased his lead in the rookie race to a solid 18 points. He also leads both the Goals and Assists categories for rookies in the league, with 22 and 35 respectfully, and places fourth in the plus-minus leaders.

Coming into tonight, Panarin had just a couple games under his belt after missing two consecutively due to illness. In his absence, the team lost both of their games (2-0 vs. SJS and 4-2 vs. DAL). Coach Joel Quenneville even commented on the void left by the rookie while he was out sick, saying “He definitely brings something special to that line. He’s dangerous offensively and knows how to guard the puck and keep the play going.”

His line with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov has been by far the most productive line all season long. Not only do they create great scoring chances that, more often than not, lead to goals, but they also force turnovers, win face-offs, and draw penalties night after night.

If Panarin can maintain this pace the rest of the season, he could become the first Blackhawks rookie to win the coveted award since line-mate and current NHL points leader, Patrick Kane did in his break-out rookie season back in 2008.

Whatever the case, Artemi Panarin has certainly made a name for himself in the NHL and will hopefully play a big role in Chicago’s future. With playoffs just around the corner, Panarin is arguably playing his best hockey this season and could not have picked a better time to notch his biggest game of the year.


Photo by Jared Silber- Getty Images

One Comment

  1. Alexander

    February 18, 2016 at 2:39 PM

    Panarin is the best player of this season in NHL.

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