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Chicago Blackhawks’ Richard Panik: Over/Under In 2017-18

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CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 18: Richard Panik
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 18: Richard Panik /
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After his breakout turn last season, Chicago Blackhawks winger Richard Panik is poised to join the ranks of the NHL’s elite power forwards in the 2017-18 campaign

In his first full season with the Chicago Blackhawks last year, winger Richard Panik played in all 82 regular season games and ranked among the ‘Hawks’ top-six forwards in goals (22), points (44), shots (155) and average ice time (14:44). Panik also notched his first career hat trick along with five game-winning-goals. Impressive stuff for a player who was languishing in the AHL Toronto Marlies before coming to Chicago in January 2016.

With just a month remaining until opening night against the Pittsburgh Penguins, we’re continuing Blackhawk Up’s annual projections of key Blackhawks players’ goals, assists and points next season based on three-year trends, career averages and potential linemates. Here’s the over/under projection for Panik.

Check it out: Panik’s season grade and watch him turn Evgeni Malkin into a potted plant

Factors

Last three regular-season statistics

  • 2014-15: 76 games, 11 goals, 6 assists, 17 points, minus-8 rating.
  • 2015-16: 30 games, 6 goals, 2 assists, 8 points, plus-4 rating.
  • 2016-17: 82 games, 22 goals, 22 assists, 44 points, plus-14 rating.

Career average (5 years): 53 games, 9 goals, 9 assists, 18 points, minus-1 rating.

Potential linemates

Projection: 25 goals, 25 assists, 50 points

Panik is a quick and agile skater with the skill and power to get to the net and score. Take a look at this goal last Mar. 27 against Tampa Bay where Panik chases his own shot to the crease and backhands the rebound past goalie Andrei Vasilevsky.

Most of Panik’s 22 goals last season came with that kind of magical shot at the end of a dazzling skate towards the net, but he averaged just 1.9 shots per game over the entire season. Look for Panik to shoot a lot more this season, scoring 25 goals off 180 shots and his 14 percent three-year cumulative shooting average.         

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Panik’s also a beast in the corners and along the boards, where his physical power and nimble stickwork will usually win the day and the puck. He’s not a centerman-style playmaker, but will contribute 25 assists this season with great vision and a crazy-good touch on the stick.

Writer prediction: Way over

Panik can score in bunches — ten points in his first ten games last season, and ten points in a career-high seven-game point streak last February. But he’s also a streaky scorer who was bedeviled with a 13-game pointless streak as well.

Nonetheless, the durable 26-year-old winger is at his peak and will likely play another full 82-game regular season. If he can extend the same consistent scoring he had with Toews and Schmaltz throughout an entire season, Panik could blast through the 30-goal barrier.

Next: Chicago Blackhawks' Top Opening Night Surprises In Last 5 Seasons

Panik surpassed all expectations last season, and was rewarded with a two-year $5.6 million contract extension. If he finds his game early on the top line with Saad and Toews, great things will happen for both him and the ‘Hawks.

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