Who’s Hot: Artemi Panarin
This just in: The Blackhawks have signed 25-year-old winger Artemi Panarin to a 2-year, $12 million contract. Considering this league is performance based, I’m not surprised.
The Calder Trophy winner has had no signs of a sophomore slump and is on pace for another 30-goal season. Now how the Blackhawks fit his salary under the cap is to be seen, but I know a lot of people are happy this deal got done.
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In the last five games, Panarin has 2 goals and 6 assists and has been one of the top stars in the NHL in December. On the season he has 15 goals and 22 assists, leading the team in points with 37. Trailing him is last year’s Hart Trophy winner Patrick Kane, who has only 10 goals on the year, a rate much slower than we’re used to seeing him produce at.
I remember watching Panarin play one of his first games with the Blackhawks against the Dallas Stars. He made a play where he stick-handled around three Stars players and made a nice pass up the ice.
Blackhawks fans oohed and ahhed at the fancy play, but that was just Panarin’s raw talent they saw. He has blossomed into a dual-threat winger playing alongside Kane, which I’m guessing had a lot to do with Panarin’s decision to sign in Chicago again. The chemistry between him and Kane is unteachable and will be a pleasure to watch for the next two years.