Columbus Blue Jackets forward Artemi Panarin was charming and self-deprecating despite the language barrier during his first local media event since being acquired in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks for forward Brandon Saad on June 23. But there also was a glimpse of his competitiveness when asked if his 151 points (60 goals, 91 assists) in 162 NHL games the past two seasons, tied for seventh among all players, mainly were the result of Blackhawks linemate Patrick Kane. "Throughout my career, including Russia in my very last season, people always say I am playing because of somebody else," Panarin said via translation by his agent, Dan Milstein. "Nobody remembers how I played prior to the last couple of years. I am used to it and I am not paying attention to it. I get a little bit angry at it." That's when Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen stepped in. "It should be noted that Patrick Kane had a couple of his best seasons of his career too playing with Artemi, so it goes both ways," he said. "Thank you," Panarin said, in English, to laughter. Kane led all players the past two seasons with 195 points (80 goals, 115 assists), and they were his two highest-scoring seasons: A League-high 106 points (46 goals, 50 assists) in 2015-16 and 89 points (34 goals, 55 assists) last season. "He's definitely not a one-dimensional player as a shooter," Kekalainen said of Panarin. "He's also a great passer and creates offense by beating people 1-on-1 with his skill and speed and quickness, but also with a great pass. He's shown that type of chemistry with Kane, who's an excellent passer as well. He's going to get the opportunity to play with our best as well." Panarin likely will start at left wing alongside center Alexander Wennberg, who had his most productive season in 2016-17 with 59 points (13 goals, 46 assists). Wennberg is a restricted free agent.
Panarin has points to prove with Blue Jackets
NHL.com | Sep 3