Analysis

Blackhawks 2016-17 Over/Under: Richard Panik

By Mario Tirabassi
Feb 25, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Richard Panik (14) with the puck during the first period against the Nashville Predators at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 25, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Richard Panik (14) with the puck during the first period against the Nashville Predators at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /
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As the regular season begins in just a couple of weeks, the Chicago Blackhawks are looking to improve on their early exit last season. The team kicks off training camp at Johnny’s Icehouse in Chicago on September 23. Over the next few weeks, Blackhawk Up will give projections for the stats of each player heading into the season, based off the trend of past three seasons, career averages, and potential line-mate projections.

Will Panik Solidify Chicago’s Top-Line Left Wing Position?

What a difference a year makes, eh? In September of 2015, Richard Panik was playing in the Toronto Maple Leafs organization and was battling to make the NHL roster. The Maple Leafs finished last season dead last in the NHL, while their AHL affiliate Toronto Marlies finished at the top of the league in the regular season before falling in the third-round of the Calder Cup Playoffs.

But on January 4, 2016, the Blackhawks sent Jeremy Morin to Toronto in exchange for Panik. Two players who had failed to crack their organization’s NHL rosters. Ho-hum. 

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The trade would end up being one of the best steals the Blackhawks have had as far as trades go in recent years. While Morin didn’t finish the season with the Maple Leafs organization, Panik became a key piece of the Blackhawks lineup late in the season. Panik’s physical, defensively sound play gave him a poor-man’s Marian Hossa feel and eventually led to Panik being paired with Hossa and Jonathan Toews on Chicago’s top-line late in the season and into the Stanley Cup Playoff series against the Blues. What a difference a year makes.

Now it is up to Panik to build on his successful finish to the 2015-16 season and prove his time in Chicago so far hasn’t been a fluke. The Blackhawks feel they have a shot at making Panik a key role-player in the organization and Panik subsequently was given a one-year deal to prove his worth.

Check it out: Blackhawks 2016-17 Over/Under For Marcus Kruger

Factors

Past Three Seasons (NHL/AHL):

  • 2013-14: 50 GP – 3g, 10a, 13Pts, -9, 12:42 TOI (with Tampa Bay Lightning)
    • AHL: 13 GP – 3g, 8a, 11Pts, +1
  • 2014-15: 76 GP – 11g, 6a, 17Pts, -8, 11:39 TOI (with Toronto Maple Leafs)
  • 2015-16: 30 GP – 6g, 2a, 8Pts, +4, 10:50 TOI (with Chicago Blackhawks)
    • AHL: 33GP – 9g, 16a, 25Pts, +5 (with Toronto Marlies)

Career Average (NHL):

  • 82 Game AVG: 11g, 10a, 21Pts, -6, 11:45 TOI

Potential Line-mates:

Projection: 10G, 22A, 32Pts

Panik is more than likely going to get the first crack at being the Blackhawks top-line left-wing with Toews and Hossa. Unless another player makes a huge impression in training camp, the first try-out goes to Panik.

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With the amount of trust and expectations that will come from the coaching staff on Panik’s shoulders, and being on a one-year deal, his 2016-17 season will be his biggest of his career. Panik has the ability to be a solid, defensive-minded forward, so if he produces decent numbers offensively with the help of Toews at Center, he can stay at that top left-wing spot.

Writer Prediction: Over

The projection for 2016-17, factoring in that Panik will play the whole season in Chicago, could be viewed as being on the high-side. If Panik consistently is given ice-time on the top-line with Toews and potentially plays with any other forward not named Marian Hossa, he could reach above the 30 or even 40 point mark.

But for now, Panik’s expectations should be on the low-end so Blackhawks fans can be pleasantly surprised if he exceeds them. Therefore, the 2016-17 point projection for Richard Panik is 32 points.

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