Editorials

Chicago Blackhawks’ Artemi Panarin Re-Signing’s 3 Positives

By Colin Likas
Jun 2, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville and general manager Stan Bowman talk with media during media day the day before the 2015 Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 2, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville and general manager Stan Bowman talk with media during media day the day before the 2015 Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Dec 17, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (72) celebrates with teammates center Artem Anisimov (15) and right wing Patrick Kane (88) after scoring against the Edmonton Oilers during the third period at United Center. The Blackhawks won 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 2: It gives the Blackhawks a long-term potent scoring line

The Blackhawks forwards have been quite a bit jumbled since they won the Stanley Cup in 2015. Coach Joel Quenneville has been working hard to find a blender combination that produces consistent winning.

One line, however, has worked from the get-go. Q went with Panarin-Artem AnisimovPatrick Kane pretty early in the 2015-16 season, and that line has spent a ton of time together since.

It’s been the Blackhawks’ best offensive line by far. Last season, the trio combined for a crazy 225 points, carrying the Hart Trophy and Calder Trophy winners. So far this season, the group has notched an even 100 points.

While those three haven’t always played together since the start of the 2015-16 season, it’s been a pretty consistent grouping. And it has carried the Blackhawks through large stretches since.

Hopefully the Blackhawks are able to get some more consistent, offensively capable lines to help shoulder the load moving forward. But even if they aren’t, at least there’s going to be one line for this year and two more years after (barring Anisimov being lost to the Vegas draft) that will give Chicago’s offense a major push.

No. 1: It sets a Stanley Cup window

No one likes hearing that their team’s window for winning a championship may be shutting. There’s always ways to keep that window open longer. The Blackhawks have done that by inking Panarin for at least two more years.

Now, there’s no saying after Panarin’s extension ends that the Blackhawks will just drop to the bottom of the entire league. But with guys like Kane, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Corey Crawford all getting close to or already surpassing 30 years in age (not to mention Marian Hossa‘s eventual retirement), it makes the Blackhawks’ current Stanley Cup window pretty clear.

Bowman is setting Chicago up to take a few more runs at the Cup before things potentially become wonky. Before contracts start to end, before players potentially leave, before guys get past their peak playing shape.

Sure, someone big might have to be pitched overboard to fit Panarin under the cap next season and field a team capable of making a Cup Final, but Bowman is still making it crystal clear: this season and the two after it are prime time to add to the hardware haul.

I see this as a positive, not a negative. It should motivate the Blackhawks to be better, no matter how well they’re playing at a given time. It should give them a constant championship drive — more so than what they already have.

Next: Blackhawks' Hot And Not: Russians On Fire

These next few years will be interesting, to say the least. And it starts with the rest of this season and the following offseason.

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