Thursday, May 11, 2017

Blackhawks extend some Panik

by Gatekeeper


The Blackhawks certainly went out this season with hardly a whimper, but they are making waves in the offseason, thus far. After trading the UFA negotiating rights for Scott Darling, and his subsequent lucrative 4 year extension in Carolina, the Blackhawks signed RW Richard Panik to a 2 year extension, Thursday morning.

I like to jokingly took credit for Richard Panik's ascension up the Blackhawks depth chart, but even I didn't think he would play this well. He showed some promise the previous year, but this was all in limited ice time. I like a lot of what Panik brings to the Blackhawks. He has some decent size, a little snarl to his game, and can play in that "I won't kill you if I'm in the top 6" role that his predecessor, Andrew Shaw, made famous. That snarl, though, can come along with some bonehead plays, also much like his predecessor. Panik has certainly been prone to some frustrating on ice brain farts, as well. As the season went, he tightened up his play a bit, and finished the season appearing in all 82 regular season games, netting 22 goals, and amassing 44 points after taking a $100K salary cut to stay in Chicago. While he hit that inevitable wall about 2/3rds of the way through the season, he didn't totally disappear. His playoff disappearance can be mostly attributed to Joel Quenneville's obsessive line tinkering which left him dangling on the bottom 6, suddenly.

Playing devil's advocate, here, Richard Panik has only eclipsed the 44 point mark one other time in his adult life; in the OHL; in 2010; at 18 years old.

Let us all be reminded that Panik actually took a $100K pay cut to remain in Chicago, last season. I like him on this team for the right price, but I have to question giving a depth guy $2.8 Million for the next 2 seasons, though, when you're so close to cap hell already. He would have been an RFA, and the Blackhawks could have matched any deal. This deal also raises the question of whether the Blackhawks protect him in the upcoming expansion draft, which I have to assume is a definitive "maybe". They will most certainly leave Jordin Tootoo unprotected, and they then need to either sign another forward to expose or leave one of Kruger, Panik or Hartman exposed. If they stay in their current situation, one would believe that Ryan Hartman is protected and Bowman's decision is down to exposing Kruger or Panik. I would guess that player is Marcus Kruger.

Still many cards left to deal this summer...

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