The New York Rangers are a new look team this season. They do not have a forward on their roster older than 28, and are a fast, hard-nosed hockey team. But the first line through their first two game has been one of the fastest, highest scoring lines in hockey.
The prized free agent from this past offseason, Artemi Panarin has been as advertised. He has a pair of goals as well as a pair of assists through his first few games as a Blueshirt. He has shown his elite skating ability as well, creating chances for himself and his teammates with his feet. The bread man is an elite scorer, but some may underestimate his passing ability as well. Since coming over from the KHL, he has had more assists than goals. Panarin has shown why he got paid the way he did this offseason, and doesn’t show any signs of stopping.
The other winger on this line, Pavel Buchnevich is one of the top tier younger wingers in hockey, and since he plays on a line with Panarin, he is overlooked. The 24 year-old Russian has yet to find the back of the net this early season, but while defenses may keep a keen eye on Panarin, expect Buch to become one of the consistent scorers on the roster. Buch is an underrated winger that everyone in the NHL should keep their eyes on.
FInally, is center Mika Zibanejad, who leads all forwards in points so far this season, with eight (4 G’s, 4 A’s). He scored the league’s first hat trick of the ’19-’20 campaign in a 4-1 victory over his former team, the Ottawa Senators. Zibanejad has been lost in the NHL’s shuffle of “top tier” centers. But with his start so far this season, showing off his scoring and passing ability should put him in the conversation of the group of elite centermen in the league. Oh, and a quick reminder, The Sens traded Zibanejad and a second round pick to the Rangers for Derick Brassard and a seventh round pick… Thank you Ottawa.
The Panarin-Zibanejad-Buchnevich line has had their hand in just about 75% of the 10 Ranger goals so far this year, which is astounding. Coach David Quinn has to make a lot of tough decisions throughout the season, but one sure bet he has is this line. The New York Rangers rebuild is complete, and this line is proof of it.