could be the piece that takes the to the next level.
After wrapping their best season in franchise history, in which they collected 50 wins and 108 points, that success didn't carry over to the postseason, as the Blue Jackets made a quick five-game exit to the.
Feeling his team needed another weapon in its offensive arsenal, general manager Jarmo Kekalainen made a major move on draft day, dealingto the to bring in Panarin.
"It was about us needing a game-breaking type player," Kekalainen. "A scorer. A guy who is a power-play specialist. A guy who can win you the tight games."
Panarin, 25, broke into the NHL with the Blackhawks two years ago, capturing the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie in 2015-16. The Russian reached the 30-goal plateau in both seasons in Chicago, and accumulated 151 points over the two campaigns.
Panarin's ability to produce on the power play was particularly intriguing to Columbus, as he has put up 41 points with the man advantage over his two NHL seasons.
The Blue Jackets had one of the league's more productive power-play units last season, but it trailed off toward the latter part of the year, finishing a respectable 12th, with a 19.9 percent efficiency rating.
"(Panarin) is one of the most explosive players in the league, and definitely very strong on the power play. That's one his biggest strengths," Kekalainen added. "Great shooter. Great one-timer. But he's also got that great one-on-one skill that we were looking for to create offense … He will be an exciting player for us."
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