Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks: Panarin’s Contract Demands And What They Mean

By Tim Lively
Oct 21, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (72) during a stop in play 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
Oct 21, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (72) during a stop in play 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 /
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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 /

Young guns helping Panarin’s cause

If there is one thing the Blackhawks have been known for during these very initial stages of the 2016-17 season, it’s their dependence on more newly-minted players from the farm system more so than at any time in recent memory.

I mention this because if the Blackhawks do decide to meet the Bread Man’s contract demands, leaning on young and inexperienced talent may become the franchise’s modus operandi for the foreseeable future.

The Blackhawks currently have a substantial amount of capital tied up in their core players. While we can only speculate the full ramifications of trying to squeeze in Panarin’s $6M a year contract into their already crowded payroll, one thing is certain: The ‘Hawks will not be able to afford to sign proven, but more expensive veteran players for some time going forward.

Thus, the Blackhawks will have to depend on the players in their farm system who, while untested, are cheap. Needless to say, adopting such an operating structure is a tremendous gamble for the Blackhawks, but so far this season, it seems to be one they are winning.

As of this post, Richard Panik, Tyler Motte, Nick Schmaltz, Gustav Forsling, Dennis Rasmussen and Ryan Hartman have collectively tallied 21 points, which is certainly commendable. Furthermore, in addition to being productive, the aforementioned players have three other attributes in common: They have not skated a full season in a Blackhawks sweater, they are all in their early to mid-twenties, and they all make less than $1 million a year.

There is certainly a lot of season left to play, but if the Blackhawks’ young players can keep up their current pace of point production, the ‘Hawks’ management may feel more comfortable regarding their ability to remain competitive with such a large percentage of their roster as an unknown quantity, and therefore may be more inclined to fork over the necessary dough to lock up the Bread Man for the long term.

Next: Blackhawks Shut Out Kings

While the results of this season will certainly color Panarin’s contract demands, despite the tough financial situation keeping the Bread Man will put the ‘Hawks in initially, it’s very hard to imagine they would let such a talent walk. Here’s hoping a deal can be made that is favored by all sides.

FOR THE DAGGER!

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