This off-season the Columbus Blue Jackets made a trade that shocked many fans. On June 23rd the Blue Jackets sent Brandon Saad back to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Artemi Panarin. Panarin came to Columbus with a scoring pedigree. In his first two seasons in the NHL, Panerin has scored over 70 points. He was expected to be the go-to scorer for the Blue Jackets. To this point in the season, Artemi Panarin is living up to those expectations.
Artemi Panarin Living Up to Expectations
On the Ice
The expectations for Panarin coming into this season were very high. Panarin was expected to be the go-to guy for the Blue Jackets offence, a game breaker who could take the team to the next level. Panarin was expected to be a catalyst on offence. Panarin’s season started out strong, scoring seven points in his first three games. Recently, Panarin has been on fire. He scored eight points in his last ten games, dating back to November 11th. In those ten games, the Blue Jackets have eight wins.
Leading the team in points (20) and assists (13), Panarin is the man who Columbus wants with the puck on his stick late in games. Panarin has also done his share of putting the puck in the back of the net with seven goals. Those seven goals put Panarin third on the team in that category. Panarin has also been the only source of hope on the Blue Jackets historically bad power-play. With two power-play goals and five power-play points, Panarin leads the Blue Jackets in both categories.
While those numbers do not look impressive for a player who should be the catalyst of the power-play and offence, Panarin is leading a team that so far this season is relying heavily on its excellent goaltender. When the rest of the offence starts to click Panarin’s numbers should keep pace. Currently, Panarin has 20 points through 27 games giving him a point per game average of .74. Panarin is on pace for a 60 point season. The Blue Jackets organization and fanbase should be excited that Panarin started out slow and is still on a strong pace.
The “Saad” Comparison
When general manager Jarmo Kekalainen made the trade it came as a surprise to many. Brandon Saad had 53 points in both of his seasons in Columbus, which put him first and third on the team in points those years. 53 points in a season is a career high for Saad. Panarin’s career high is 77 points in a season and is on pace for a 60 point season this year. In two years in Columbus Saad had only 11 power-play points, in 27 games in Columbus Panarin already has five power-play points.
So far this season Saad has played in 26 games, with ten goals and 14 points. Saad only has one powerplay point. Saad had a good first start to the season scoring nine of his 14 points in the first ten games. Saad has also had a nice stretch as of late scoring four points in the last five games. However, Saad has been inconsistent having a three, a six and a four-game stretch where he didn’t score a point. Only once this season has Panarin gone three games without scoring a point. Saad has also only one game with three or more points this season and that was the first game. Panarin has three games with three or more points this season.