CHICAGO — The Chicago Blackhawks announced on Thursday afternoon that the team has reached an agreement on a new two-year contract extension with forward Richard Panik. Panik, who played his most consistent hockey of his career this past season with the Blackhawks will get a raise, earning $2.8 million per season for the next two seasons.
Blackhawks General Manager Stan Bowman had this to say about the new deal for the Hawks forward,
“Richard made tremendous strides this past year and we were pleased with the consistency he showed throughout the season. We are looking forward to having him in Chicago for the next two seasons.”
Panik totaled 44 points for the Blackhawks during the 2016-2017 NHL season, scoring 22 goals and notching 22 assists, providing stability to the top line for much of the season, but while Panik was happy with his individual performance this past season, he was disappointed in the Hawks early playoff exit.
“I think when I look back at the season, this was my most consistent season in the NHL. That’s good. But when you get swept in the playoffs it’s not looking good, your individual season,” Panik said on April 22. “So you’re disappointed.”
The Blackhawks will still have some significant work to do this offseason, currently sitting $3.6 million dollars above the $73 million dollar salary cap threshold, with numerous other holes to fill on the roster, especially on the defensive side of things.
Despite signing the new extension with the Blackhawks today, there is still a chance that Richard Panik can be selected in the upcoming expansion draft if the Blackhawks do not make him a protected player. Whether or not they will do so is unknown at this point, but one would imagine that this extension is a sign that they will protect him.