The New York Rangers announced their team award winners for the 2019-20 season today. Artemi Panarin has been named the Rangers’ Most Valuable Player, Jesper Fast has been named the recipient of the Players’ Player Award, and Chris Kreider has been named the winner of the John Halligan Good Guy Award.
The Most Valuable Player Award was voted on by members of the New York Rangers media and has been given annually since the conclusion of the 1941-42 season. Panarin has won the award for the first time since joining the Rangers. He is the first player who has won the award in his first season with the Rangers since Mark Messier in 1991-92.
Panarin, who is a finalist for the Hart Trophy and the Ted Lindsay Award, skated in 69 games with the Rangers this season, registering 32 goals and 63 assists for 95 points, along with a plus-36 rating and 20 penalty minutes. He established career-highs in several categories in 2019-20, including goals, assists, points, and plus/minus rating. Panarin led the NHL in even strength points (71) and even strength assists (46) this season. Since the NHL began to track points by strength (even strength, power play, shorthanded) in 1933-34, Panarin was the fifth Ranger to lead the NHL in even strength points and the seventh Ranger to lead the NHL in even strength assists, and he was only the third Ranger to lead the NHL (or tie for the NHL lead) in both even strength points and even strength assists in the same season since 1933-34.
Panarin’s 71 even strength points this season were tied for the fourth-most by a Ranger in one season in franchise history (tied with Jaromir Jagr in 2005-06). The only Rangers who recorded more even strength points than Panarin in one season were the three members of the ‘G-A-G Line’ during the 1971-72 season (Jean Ratelle – 82; Rod Gilbert – 74; Vic Hadfield – 72). In addition, Panarin’s 46 even strength assists this season were tied for the most by a Ranger in one season in franchise history (Mark Messier – 1991-92; Wayne Gretzky – 1996-97). Panarin’s 95 points this season were the 12th-most in one season by a Ranger in franchise history, and his 63 assists were tied for the 12th-most by a Ranger in one season in franchise history. Panarin’s 63 assists were also the most by a left winger in one season in franchise history. He was the first Ranger who registered either 63 or more assists or 95 or more points in a season since Jaromir Jagr in 2006-07 (66 assists and 96 points). Panarin averaged 1.38 points per game this season, which was the fourth-highest points per game average in one season (min. 40 games played) in franchise history (Jean Ratelle – 1.73 in 1971-72; Jaromir Jagr – 1.50 in 2005-06; Frank Boucher – 1.48 in 1929-30).
Panarin ranked second in the NHL (and led NHL forwards) in plus/minus rating, tied for second in the NHL in assists, tied for third in the NHL in points, tied for 13th in the NHL in goals, and ranked 16th in the NHL in takeaways (56) in 2019-20. He tallied a point in 54 of the 69 games he played during the 2019-20 season (including 28 multi-point games), and he also registered a point in 34 of the Rangers’ 37 wins during the season. Panarin posted a plus-40 on-ice even strength goal differential in 2019-20 (he was on the ice for 89 of the Rangers’ goals at even strength and was on ice for 49 of the Blueshirts’ goals against at even strength during the season). He led the NHL in on-ice even strength goal differential during the season, and the plus-40 differential was tied for the sixth-best an NHL player has recorded since the NHL began to track the statistic in 2009-10. Panarin was on the ice for 128 of the Rangers’ 233 goals in either regulation or the five-minute overtime period this season (54.9%).
In addition to Panarin, Mika Zibanejad was the only other player who received first-place votes for the award from members of the New York Rangers media.
The Players’ Player Award has been given annually since the conclusion of the 1958-59 season and recognizes the Ranger who, as selected by his teammates, “best exemplifies what it means to be a team player.” Fast was named the recipient of the Players’ Player Award for the fifth consecutive season, becoming the first Ranger to win the award in five straight seasons (the only other players who had won the award in four consecutive seasons were Jean Ratelle and Brian Leetch). In addition, he is only the second Ranger who has won the award five different times during his tenure with the team (Ratelle – 1967-68 – 1970-71; 1974-75).
Fast skated in 69 games with the Rangers this season, registering 12 goals and 17 assists for 29 points, along with a plus-16 rating and 20 penalty minutes. He established career-highs in plus/minus rating and average ice time (16:36) in 2019-20. Fast ranked 21st among NHL forwards (and led Rangers forwards) in shorthanded ice time (162:35) this season, and he ranked second on the Rangers in shorthanded goals (two), tied for second in shorthanded points (two), ranked third in hits (125), and tied for fourth in plus/minus rating in 2019-20. In addition, the Rangers posted a 17-5-0 record in games which he registered a point this season.
The John Halligan Good Guy Award recognizes a player for their cooperation with the media throughout the season. The award has been presented annually since the 1974-75 season, and was renamed in 2009-10 to honor the team’s late public relations director. The award recipient is chosen by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association who cover the Rangers throughout the season.
Kreider skated in 63 games with the Rangers this season, registering 24 goals and 21 assists for 45 points, along with a plus-13 rating and 58 penalty minutes. He represented the Rangers at the 2020 NHL All-Star Game. Kreider established career-highs in goals per game (0.71) and power play goals (nine), and tied career-highs in points per game (0.71) and game-winning goals (five) this season. The 2019-20 season was Kreider’s second full season as one of the Rangers’ alternate captains; he was named an alternate captain at the start of the 2018-19 season and had worn an “A” for several games during the final month of the 2017-18 season.
Current Rangers who previously received the John Halligan Good Guy Award are Henrik Lundqvist (2007-08), Marc Staal (2013-14), and Mika Zibanejad (2018-19).