Artemi Panarin has joined some elite company.
The Blackhawks winger recently became the fourth-fastest active player to reach 50 career points – behind onlyAlex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
At just 55 career games, Panarin reached the milestone faster than Jonathan Toews and faster than linemate Patrick Kane – who leads the NHL with 75 points this season.
Panarin had three assists in Chicago’s 5-4 overtime win over Arizona Thursday night, and along with Kane, is arguably part of the most dangerous duo in the NHL right now.Together, the pair has accounted for more than 30 percent of the Blackhawks’ offensive production. Of Panarin’s 18 goals, 16 have been assisted on by Kane.
The best part – for the Blackhawks, anyway – is that Panarin is doing this on a entry-level deal that carries a cap hit of just$812,500 per year. According to hockeyscap.com, Panarin is currently the best value in the NHL at$16,250 per point.
He’s also the leader in the Calder Trophy race for the league’s top rookie, though Connor McDavid is coming on strong following his return from injury.
Claiming the award would make him just the third Blackhawk to do so, along with Kane and goaltenderEd Belfour.
Most All-Star game selections as a Blackhawk
Stats via Hockey-Reference