Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks-Toronto Maple Leafs Preview With Steve Dangle

By Mario Tirabassi
Jan 15, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith (2) gets rid of the puck against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 15, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith (2) gets rid of the puck against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Oct 21, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Richard Panik (14) celebrates with teammates center Artem Anisimov (15), center Tyler Motte (64), and defenseman Gustav Forsling (42) against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the third period at Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

Thank you for Richard Panik

MT: Right, and when you look into their roster make-up, you can’t just have all the young players, all the kids playing because then you just have an AHL team playing at the NHL level. You have to have your veterans in there and one player that was a part of the organization for a handful of years ended up coming to Chicago was Richard Panik. Now he is playing on the top-line for the Blackhawks, but it doesn’t sound like many Leafs fans really miss Panik, knowing that the future is so bright. Is that probably a true statement?

SD: I think that is true, but I still think there a plenty of fans that definitely didn’t like that trade. I think it was Richard Panik for Jeremy Morin straight up.

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  • MT: Yeah, the Blackhawks legend.

    SD: Yeah, and like, what is Jeremy Morin’s problem? Because then the Leafs traded him to the San Jose Sharks and then the Sharks let him go. I thought this was a guy with a lot of talent. What that trade was, was yeah, I think the Leafs were hoping to get something out of Morin, which they obviously didn’t.

    But, it was a courtesy to Richard Panik. It was a courtesy to give him a shot somewhere, because he clearly wasn’t going to get it in Toronto. There were some really blue-chips prospects here in the AHL, that were barely getting any playing time and some of them even got healthy-scratched during the AHL playoffs because they were a power-house.

    They finished with over 50 wins and 114 points. Panik was part of that team. He was kind of this weird, in-betweener. It was obvious he should be playing in the NHL but they wanted to focus on developing the prospects, and was he a prospect? No.

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    Panik is perfect for the Blackhawks. He is not a first-line player on a lot of teams, but what helped the Pittsburgh Penguins win the Stanley Cup? Obviously the star-power, Kris Letang, Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, all the guys that make a ton of money.

    Then you have the secondary guys who make mid-range money, Nick Bonino and Carl Hagelin, but it’s the Bryan Rust‘s and Conor Sheary‘s, the bargain-bin guys. Because they pay their stars so much money, they have to get good production out of the bargain-bin. Panik can be one of those guys for the Blackhawks. I’m glad he has found his niche. I mean first-line with the Blackhawks? You could definitely do worse.

    MT: Right, it’s not the worst thing in the world to play alongside Jonathan Toews.

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