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Chicago Blackhawks Forwards Analysis After Early Postseason Exit

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Mar 31, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (second from left) celebrates after he scored a goal with Chicago Blackhawks left wing Richard Panik (14), Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) and Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith (2) during the first period of their game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 31, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (second from left) celebrates after he scored a goal with Chicago Blackhawks left wing Richard Panik (14), Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) and Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith (2) during the first period of their game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mar 29, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (72) skates with the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at the PPG PAINTS Arena. Chicago won 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Let’s move on to some other key forwards

Artemi Panarin.  The Breadman stepped into a pretty sweet gig when he came over to the NHL from Russia.  He was put on a line with fellow countryman Anisimov, and one of the best producers in the world in Kane.  Yes, he’s reaped the benefits and seen great success.  But has it been too easy?

Let’s face it.  Panarin has some great moves, but by now they’re predictable.  Opponents are learning how to read him and shut him down.  It’s time for Panarin to round out his game.

I think he needs to be separated from Kane.  He needs to work hard on all facets of his game, and be forced to challenge himself to produce without Kaner’s help.  Only after that can they get back together and light the world on fire!

Artem Anisimov.  It’s not exactly fair to judge Arty on his performance in the playoffs; it’s obvious he wasn’t completely recuperated from his injury.  When healthy, Anisimov knows where to go on the ice, and his net front presence is invaluable.

But man, does he need to work on his faceoffs!  If he can’t get that back up to par, it might be time for a different second line center next season.

Richard Panik.  Panik did everything he was asked of and more this past season.  He was seventh on the team in points (44), scoring 22 goals and 22 assists.  He continued right where he left off from having a strong postseason with Toews from the previous year, and never looked back.  Heck, Panik showed us some moves I don’t think he even knew he had until he tried them!

Panik is a restricted free agent this next season, but he says he wants to stay with Chicago.  I believe he’d be willing to sign a relatively cheap contract that would be beneficial to the Chicago Blackhawks, and enable him to continue his new-found success.

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