CHICAGO- One of the most troubling looming free-agents for the Blackhawks this coming summer was Artemi Panarin, who was due for a raise from the Blackhawks after his superb first year and a half with the club thus far.
On Wednesday night Scott Powers, of The Athletic Chicago reported that the Blackhawks had come to terms with the 25-year-old Panarin, avoiding a potential salary cap casualty scenario this summer, at least as far as Panarin is concerned. The report was quickly confirmed by multiple sources among the Blackhawks beat via social media.
Panarin stormed onto the NHL scene last season, partnering with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov on the Hawks’ second line for the majority of the 2015-2016 season, a season in which Panarin recorded 30 goals and 47 assists en route to winning the Calder Memorial Trophy, the honor bestowed upon the NHL’s top rookie each season. This season has been more of the same for the young forward, amassing 15 goals and 21 assists thus far for the Blackhawks.
The new deal is expected to be announced officially by the Blackhawks tomorrow morning, and is reported to be worth $12 million dollars over the next two years, at which point Panarin will become an unrestricted free-agent at the end of the 2018-2019 season.
Although he will be an unrestricted free-agent at the end of the bridge deal that he signed with the Blackhawks this evening, Hawks’ fans shouldn’t worry about the youngster bolting town through free-agency. Panarin obviously felt strongly about getting a deal done to keep him in Chicago, his agent Tom Lynn had this to say about Panarin’s desire to remain with the club,
“What was important was getting Artemi the best deal we could to remain with the Blackhawks”
The Breadman made it clear to his agent Tom Lynn that he wanted to stay in Chicago, even if that meant leaving some bread on the table to make it happen. When asked if Panarin did in fact leave potential money on the table by taking this deal from the Hawks’ Lynn had the following to say,
“Oh, for sure,” Lynn said. “Look at his numbers. His arbitration number would have been somewhere [Johnny] Gaudreau to [Vladimir] Tarasenko to above, so somewhere between $6.75 and $8 million.”
Many people were surprised this evening when they found out the details of the deal, taken back by the fact that the 25-year-old winger took a bridge deal to stay in Chicago, rather than cash in on his potential big pay day this summer. According to Tom Lynn, Panarin wanted to stay with the Blackhawks, and was willing to do a short-term deal to do so, with the intention to receive a long-term deal during the summer of 2019.
“Two years gives you two years for the cap to go up, the Canadian dollar to recover, oil prices to recover, others guys to falter, be made,” Lynn said. “A lot can happens in two years. Take it one step at a time.”
The Blackhawks will surely now have some tough decisions to make in the coming months, with another veteran player likely heading out of town to make room for Panarin’s new $6 million dollar per season cap hit, that will take effect next season.
I’ve made it clear over the last few days that coming to a deal with Artemi Panarin should be the Blackhawks number one priority moving forward, and apparently they agreed as they get their man for at least two more seasons to come.