Panarin seeking more complete game: 'I need to be everywhere'
After leading the New York Rangers and ranking 12th in the league with 96 points last season, Artemi Panarin is asking more of himself.
"Recently I've been focusing more on the wing, and it's easier for everyone else to play with me in that sense," Panarin said through an interpreter Saturday, according to The Athletic's Arthur Staple.
"But I really need to start being everywhere and doing everything. It will help me progress as a player, and it will definitely make it more difficult for the opponent to figure out our game. And it will help my teammates because it was more of a game of throwing the puck down the boards. A really simple game, easy to figure out. And my teammates weren't developing as much as they should."
Panarin is set to play with a new center this season after usual pivot Ryan Strome signed with the Anaheim Ducks this summer. Vincent Trocheck has filled the role in the early stages of New York's training camp.
Although Panarin's the biggest star on the Rangers, he said the desire to refine his game comes after what he considered a disappointing playoff performance. He had 16 points in 20 postseason games as New York reached the Eastern Conference Final.
"There were a few unfortunate mistakes I made," he said. "That probably shouldn't have happened."
Panarin is entering his fourth season with the Rangers. He signed a seven-year, $81.5-million contract as an unrestricted free agent to become the second-highest paid player in the NHL. The 30-year-old has managed 249 points in 186 contests since arriving in the Big Apple.