Atkinsons hat trick dooms Hurricanes

Atkinson\s hat trick dooms Hurricanes
Columbus Blue Jackets: Artemi Panarin is a Luxury, Not a Necessity
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The Columbus Blue Jackets had one of their biggest scoring outbursts on Thursday against the Florida Panthers without star forward Artemi Panarin. While Panarin likely would’ve contributed to the scoring if he were on the ice, it proved that he’s not as essential to the team as many believe.

Artemi Panarin isn’t what Rick Nash was to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the past, a star player on a team of below league average players. Artemi Panarin is a star player on a team of above league average players.

Video: Atkinsons hat trick leads Jackets past Hurricanes

Seth Jones, Zach Werenski, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Cam Atkinson and others are more than enough to carry the Columbus Blue Jackets to the playoffs annually.

Its Saturday night hockey from PNC Arena tonight, as the first place Columbus Blue Jackets take on the Carolina Hurricanes for the second-time this season. Carolina won the previous battle Oct. 5, Columbus home opener, 3-1, facing former Blue Jacket, Curtis McElhinney in net. The Hurricanes last played on Monday, defeating the Blackhawks 3-2 in overtime while Columbus comes in on a six-game points streak, having beat the Panthers 7-3 last time out on Thursday.

Artemi Panarin may lead the team in points, but he scores in bursts. He’ll usually put up two or three points in one game, then go quiet for a few games. Panarin isn’t a consistent superstar, if he was he’d be in the argument for the best player in the NHL.

We need to get right back at it. Thats always the worry when you take this much time in between games. We had a good one, a victory, and everyone was feeling good. You cant take the foot off the gas. We need to, for a few days, to mentally get away from it, but we have to make sure we get back to where we were. Otherwise, its going to be rough. — Hurricanes.com

Panarin leads the team in assists, however he’s fifth on the team in goals. He creates a large amount of scoring chances, but this season he’s had trouble finishing those chances. Pierre-Luc Dubois and Cam Atkinson have been the finishers on the top line, leaving Panarin simply as a playmaker much like an  Alexander Wennberg who isn’t afraid to shoot the puck once in a while.

First-round draft pick, selected second overall, the 18-year-old Andrei Svechnikov has started his career with the Hurricanes scoring eight points (four goals, four assists) in 18 games. The Russian forward picked up two assists against the Blackhawks on Monday, and an assist versus Columbus in the first meeting.

The last season the Blue Jackets had Brandon Saad and not Panarin, the team finished with a total of 108 points. Meanwhile in the first season with Panarin, they only put up 97. Meaning that record-wise, the team performed better without Panarin. That’s not to say Panarin makes the Blue Jackets a worse team, it’s very much the opposite.

The Hurricanes have played Columbus tough in recent history, and bring a 13-3-4 record over their last 20 meetings into play tonight. That stretch of dominance includes a current six-game point streak for Carolina against the Jackets (4-0-2), but BrindAmour knows this is a tough matchup for his young Canes.

The question to ask, is Panarin’s contribution truly great enough for fans to worry about his pending contract an entire season? Realistically, he’s the best player on the team but not by much. He has some intangibles that others don’t have, but the others will put up points with or without him. If he leaves, the Blue Jackets will be fine.

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Carolina is in the middle of a season-long six-game homestand. After their game against the Blue Jackets tonight, they will face the Devils tomorrow afternoon at 5:00 p.m. With all the time off in between games, the Hurricanes know they have to get off to a fast start tonight.

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Posted in Greensboro