The Rangers have landed the prize of the NHL free agent market, with Artemi Panarin headed to New York, the team announced Monday.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) July 1, 2019
Though the Rangers haven’t disclosed the term of the contract, Sportsnet said the deal is $81.5 million over seven years, confirming a New York Post report of an average annual value of $11.6 million.
The Blue Jackets reportedly made one last pitch to Panarin on Sunday in the form of an eight-year deal with an AAV of $12 million, which would have made him the second-highest-paid player in the NHL behind Connor McDavid ($12.5 million AAV), but the lure of Madison Square Garden was too strong.
The 27-year-old winger had a career-high 87 points in 2018-19, including a career-best 59 assists. The 2016 Calder Trophy winner has averaged 29 goals and 41 assists over his four NHL seasons, the first two with Chicago and the last two in Columbus. The Russian previously starred for SKA Saint Petersburg of the KHL.
Now Rangers fans can look forward to a future that includes Panarin on one wing and Kaapo Kakko, the second overall pick in this year’s NHL Draft, on the other.
The Islanders and Panthers reportedly were the other top suitors for Panarin.