Chicago Blackhawks: Artemi Panarin’s MVP nomination hurts

The Chicago Blackhawks trading Artemi Panarin looks even worse today than when it first happened.

The Chicago Blackhawks made as boneheaded of a move as they can make on June 23rd, 2017 when they traded Artemi Panarin to the Columbus Blue Jackets to re-acquire Brandon Saad. This trade is going down as one of the single worst trades in the history of Chicago sports. There are so many layers to why it is a bad look for Stan Bowman and his staff but the fact that he is one of the ten best players in the National Hockey League is the biggest reason it looks bad.

Panarin signed a major seven-year contract with the New York Rangers that has an average annual value of 11.6 million dollars last summer. He proved that he is worth every penny in 2019-20 as he had 32 goals and 63 assists for 95 points in 69 games played before the COVID-19 pause. That is a 112 point pace over 82 games. All of that production has earned him a nomination for the Hart Trophy as the MVP of the league.

Panarin was nominated with Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche and Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers. He has a decent chance to win but you can make a very compelling case for all three of those players. It was an incredible year for Panarin in his first year with the Rangers.

Panarin might have left the Chicago Blackhawks in free agency because they probably wouldn’t have been able to pay him north of 11 million per year but you also never know if they would have done whatever it took to make it work. Either way, not having him for 2017-18 and 2018-19 really helped deliver an early end to their extended playoff streak. One little playoff loss to Nashville wasn’t enough to make a move like that at all.

It is also a look for Stan Bowman because it really shows how much he has mismanaged things. Maybe he would have been able to keep Panarin if Brent Seabrook didn’t have such a bad contract. He also traded away plenty of other great players along with Panarin like Teuvo Teravainen and Niklas Hjalmarsson. They have been bad ever since and these bad trades are a large reason why.

Panarin was so good with the Hawks so it’s not like there was ever a time that this trade looked good. It was a bad deal from day one because Panarin’s Calder Trophy-winning rookie season was better than any year Saad has had. The argument in favor of the trade back in 2017 from truthers was that Saad was better in the playoffs but they forgot you need to make the playoffs first. That narrative is also wrong because as Panarin proved with Columbus, he is better than Saad in the regular season, playoffs, or any type of game you want.

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Panarin being nominated for the Hart Trophy should hurt all Blackhawks fans. This is a guy they traded away for pennies on the dollar and their team has been suffering ever since. Panarin was so good that he made their best player, Patrick Kane, look even better. You can even make an argument that Panarin has been better than Kane since the start of 2019-20. This is a bad look and someone should honestly be fired for letting it happen.