Friday, May 1, 2015

Blackhawks Go Fishing in Europe

The Blackhawks signed two relatively unknown European players to entry level deals, this week, which couldn't have come at a better time, to keep all the whack-a-doos from proclaiming their irrational greatness. Let us take a closer look at these future Blackhawks footnotes.

It still has yet to be officially announced by the team, but several sources have confirmed that the Blackhawks signed 23 year old Russian Left Wing Artemi Panarin to a 2 year entry level deal. Panarin is an interesting player. He was the 5th leading scorer in the KHL this past season as well as the 5th leading scorer in the playoffs. Keep in mind, though, he played on a line with former NHLer Ilya Kovalchuk. Makes you wonder what he could do with a younger player of a similar skillset like, say, Patrick Kane. Even before signing with the Hawks, his style of play was compared to Kane, and looking at highlight I can see why. He looks confident, brash, and had some smooth hands. Let's be honest, though; there is one Patrick Kane in this world. There is also a reason Artemi Panarin is an undrafted 23 year old out of the KHL. Lets not fool ourselves just yet. He is a smallish player at 5'11" and somewhere between 159 lbs and 170 lbs, depending on what site you look at. Have a look at his stats for yourself:

Here is his most recent KHL highlight reel:

As you can see, he is a pretty dynamic and smooth player, but that is also in a league that is the equivalent of the AHL, on it's best day. We will see how he reacts to much bigger players that can, and will, hunt him down to take his head clean off. We also cannot discount the effect of the #2CUPZ penalty. If he doesn't quickly make it into the Quenneville "Band of Bros", which is a total crapshoot, he will end up as confused as Teuvo Teravainen.

The details of his particular deal are interesting, because it has been suggested that the contract has an "out clause" that allows him to terminate if he does not make the NHL team next fall. I'm not really sure who this protects more, the Blackhawks or Panarin. I would think that he has the choice of going to Rockford before heading back to Russia, instead of simply automatic termination.

The second player that was signed by the Blackhawks was 23 year old Swedish Defenseman Erik Gustafsson. Gustafsson was originally drafted in the 2012 draft by the Oilers, in the 4th round, but never panned out. He is 6'0" and listed at 176 lbs, which is average to small for an NHL defender. To give you a little bit of a comparison, current Hawks players that size are: Johnny Oduya, Kyle Cumiskey, Marcus Kruger, Teuvo Tervainen, Patrick Kane, Andrew Shaw, Kris Versteeg, Ville Pokka, Matt Carey, Garrett Ross, Kirill Gotovets, and Tanner Kero. It just depends on how he uses his size, or lack thereof. These are Gustafsson's stats over in Europe:

By all reports, he is an offensive defenseman that can play the QB on the powerplay. It is most likely that he will be do so in Rockford next year, which could mean that the Blackhawks are high on Ville Pokka. Just speculation.

Shoutcast Player


Facebook Page

Blog Archive