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Chicago Blackhawks: Richard Panik Must Stay

By Sean Fitzgerald
Apr 15, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Richard Panik (14) skates with the puck during game two of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center. The Blackhawks won the game 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 15, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Richard Panik (14) skates with the puck during game two of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center. The Blackhawks won the game 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports /
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Chicago Blackhawks, Richard Panik Should Make A Deal

The Chicago Blackhawks will need to address their pending restricted free agents and unrestricted free agents this offseason. One restricted free agent that needs to stay is Richard Panik. Panik was acquired for the oft-traded Jeremy Morin back in January. While Morin didn’t see time in the NHL with the Blackhawks this time around, Panik was given the chance right away.

Despite not being able to crack the lineup with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Panik’s potential was seen by the Blackhawks. Panik was the 52nd overall choice (a second-round pick) of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2009. He appeared in 75 games with the Lightning in two seasons. He had eight goals and 14 assists before moving on to Toronto. In 2014-15, he played in 76 games for the Leafs, recording 11 goals and six assists. Despite those numbers, Panik started the 2015-16 season in the AHL before coming to Chicago.

When the trade for Panik was completed, he was not sent to Rockford like most speculated. He instead was brought right to the NHL. He scored six goals and had two assists with the Blackhawks in 30 regular-season games.

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Panik spent time on all four lines for different stretches and even earned the confidence of Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville during the playoffs. In spite of being scratched in Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinals, he earned significant playing time in Games 6 and 7 against the St. Louis Blues. He was named first star of Game 6 with one assist, six hits and four shots on goal. If Quenneville likes a player, he is usually back the next season (i.e. Michal Rozsival).

Panik was on record recently saying he wanted to remain in Chicago, and he especially loved the breakfast spread the Blackhawks offered. Panik figures to come at a relatively cost-effective price this offseason.

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He made $975,000 last season. With cost being king for this offseason, Panik coming in at lower cost would greatly benefit the team. The Blackhawks are currently $65,758,460 in salary against the cap for next season with 17 players under contract, according to General Fanger. General Manager Stan Bowman stated in his end-of-the-season press conference that their will not be any major trades or changes for the 2016-17 season.

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This situation seems perfect for both sides. Sometimes it’s the little things in life, like a great breakfast spread and the chance to win a Stanley Cup, that gets a player to stay in Chicago. Don’t “Panik,” Stan: Richard Panik should return for the 2016-17 season.

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