Why is Richard Panik’s First Line Spot Secure?
Kudos to Richard Panik for having a great year last season scoring 22 goals and 22 assists in 82 games. He earned himself a nice two year extension worth $5.6M. He even lead the league in goals for a little bit in the beginning of the season. He certainly continued his style of playing hard and reaping the benefits of playing with Jonathan Toews since he stood out in the playoff series against the Blues two years ago.
But you should always be very weary of a guy who just got paid.
The reason I bring this up is because I believe there is a guy who should really be in his spot as the top line wing. His name is Ryan Hartman.
Ryan Hartman did have some chances to play with Toews on the top line last season, but played mostly bottom six minutes. His ability to separate himself from Andrew Shaw comparisons was voiced loudly when he proved he also has a scoring touch to add to his high-energy game.
Hartman is a first round talent that has all the skills and size to be an emerging power forward in the NHL and his shot may be this year to prove it. It wouldn’t even be a bad thing dropping Richard Panik down to the third line because he already plays a hard forechecking game.