Leafs claim Panik off waivers from Bolts


Toronto scooped an intriguing prospect off the wire on Thursday, claiming forward Richard Panik off waivers from Tampa Bay.

Panik, 23, was cut loose after he failed to emerge as one of the 23 roster players that gave Tampa “the best chance of winning games this year,” per assistant GM Julien BriseBois. While Panik had yet to establish himself as a full-time NHLer — he scored three goals and 13 points in 50 games last season — he was a dynamic contributor at the AHL level, notching 11 points in 13 games last year and 22 goals and 41 points in 51 games the season prior.

For those thinking this pickup is in accordance with Toronto’s fancy stat revolution — well, it’s not really. Panik has decent Corsi (51.9 percent) and Fenwick (50.5) numbers over his 75 game NHL career, but nothing that jumps off the page.

Mostly, it’s a gamble on a once-touted prospect that fell out of favor with the organization that drafted him.

“It’s always been about consistency with [Panik],” Brisebois told the Tampa Bay Times. “The skill set is there, the tool box is great. Other guys beat him out for a job. It’s that simple.”

Panik is currently on a one-year deal worth $735,000 at the NHL level.