Kane, Panarin parlay huge season into an award and a big bonus

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Coming into this season, no one thought Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin would develop chemistry so quickly, but that’s exactly what happened.

With the regular season winding down, it’s becoming increasingly clear that both players will be rewarded for all they’ve accomplished this season.

Kane will become the first American-born player to win the Art Ross Trophy. He did so by scoring 106 points this season. The next-closest player was Dallas’ Jamie Benn, who finished with 89 points.

“It’s surprising,” Kane said of being the first American to win the award, per the Chicago Tribune. “So many great American players have come and went, and are even in the league now. I know (Pat) LaFontaine had a big chance one year and (Mario) Lemieux came back from injury and kind of stole it from him (in 1992-93). There’s been some great seasons by American-born players. I think I’m lucky and fortunate to be the first one to win it.”

As for Panarin, he might come away with the Calder Trophy, but one thing he’ll definitely have is a thicker wallet. The 24-year-old earned a $1.725 bonus for finishing in the top 10 in scoring among forwards. Only Kane, Benn, Sidney Crosby, Joe Thornton, Johnny Gaudreau, Blake Wheeler and Joe Pavelski have more points than the ‘Hawks rookie.

“To be in the top 10 in scoring your rookie season is pretty special,” Kane said of Panarin’s season. “He’s going to be doing some special things as a Blackhawk down the road, hopefully for a long time.”

Panarin also earned an $850,000 bonus earlier this season. Roughly $2.3 million of the bonus money handed out to Panarin will count against the Blackhawks’ salary cap next season, according to the Sun-Times.

Last week, ‘Hawks GM Stan Bowman made it clear that he wouldn’t be upset if Panarin hit all his bonuses.

“Our team wouldn’t be where we are without him,” Bowman said.

“What he’s done here as a rookie, I don’t want to say it’s unprecedented, but it hasn’t happened in a long, long time for a guy, his first year in the league, to finish in the top 10 in scoring. That’s why those bonuses are rarely earned. He’s done something very, very special this year.”

The extra cash owed to Panarin will probably force the ‘Hawks to part ways with another one of their regulars.