Panik, 25, was acquired in a midseason deal with Toronto and fared well upon joining the ‘Hawks, scoring eight points in 30 regular season games, and three in six playoff contests.
The 52nd overall pick in 2009, Panik’s always been high on talent but failed to find his niche in both Tampa (the club that drafted him) and Toronto.
It does seem, though, that things clicked in Chicago.
“Can play right wing or left wing, and he’s played on the first line, third line, fourth line because he’s got some versatility to his game, which is what we like,” Bowman explained. “He’s got a great skill set. He’s fast. He’s strong. He’s competitive. He’s physical. So now we’re just looking for him to put it all together on a consistent basis.
“Because when he brings his best game, he’s a dominant player.”
Panik showed flashes late in the campaign and again in the postseason. He benefited from being thrown into a good situation on a line with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, a trio Joel Quenneville went to a few times in the playoffs.
It’s also worth noting Panik had an uptick at the tail end of a contract year. His one-year, $975,000 deal expires on July 1.