Chicago Blackhawks Are Hanging On To Richard Panik
After Wednesday’s announcement the Chicago Blackhawks had traded Bryan Bickell and Teuvo Teravainen to the Carolina Hurricanes for draft picks, many thought the team’s next move would be re-upping Andrew Shaw. Turns out the team’s next move happened just a few hours after the trade, and it instead involved Richard Panik.
The Blackhawks and Panik agreed to a one-year deal, with the dollar amount not yet disclosed. This comes after Panik had a nice end to the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup Playoffs series against the St. Louis Blues, ultimately contributing three assists in six games. He added eight points in 30 regular-season games.
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Panik is just 25 and probably came cheap, as he was making less than $1 million ($975,000, to be exact) on his old deal. This would be good for the Blackhawks, who still aren’t going to have a ton of cap space despite moving Bickell and Teuvo.
There has been speculation that Panik could play a top-six role moving forward, maybe even filling in for a declining Marian Hossa. I’m not sure how successful Panik would be in a top-six role long-term, but he’ll certainly be given every chance to earn it in the 2016-17 season. He wound up in that role late in the 2016 postseason because coach Joel Quenneville was just throwing things at the wall and seeing what would stick, and Panik stuck.
To be fair, most anyone is going to be made better by playing alongside the likes of Jonathan Toews. And while Panik does seem to have a nose for the net and has no problem getting into the dirty areas, I’m not sure how much of a playmaker he is. Toews would benefit more from having a true playmaker (sorry, Teuvo) next to him. Panik may be the alternative.
Panik’s re-signing gives the Blackhawks eight forwards for the 2016-17 season: Panik, Toews, Hossa, Patrick Kane, Artem Anisimov, Marcus Kruger, Artemi Panarin and Andrew Desjardins. Still on the table are guys like Shaw, Dennis Rasmussen and Brandon Mashinter, as well as trade-deadline acquisitions like Andrew Ladd, Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann.
It’s becoming clear the Blackhawks are going to look to their minor league system to produce a few players to fill gaps on next season’s team. There are guys like Tyler Motte, Mark McNeill, Nick Schmaltz, Ryan Hartman, Tanner Kero, Vincent Hinostroza and Ryan Haggerty who will get good looks out of training camp.
For now, however, the focus is on Panik and his re-signing. It provides the Blackhawks with a little depth at forward at probably a cheap cost. I think this is a fine move by Blackhawks General Manager Stan Bowman.