Artemi Panarin is looking to cash in on his Calder-winning campaign.
Chicago’s prized Russian sniper and the reigning rookie of the year, Panarin is reportedly seeking a six-year contract extension “worth more than $6 million per season,” per the Chicago Tribune.
As the Tribune points out, that figure could be problematic. Nobody’s arguing that Panarin isn’t worth the money — he’s 24, and coming off a 30-goal, 77-point campaign — but people are wondering how the ‘Hawks can afford him. Eight players on the active roster are pulling in at least $4 million per season, which includes Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, they of the $10.5M cap hits.
That said, it sure sounds like Panarin will get done.
Reports last week said his agent and ‘Hawks GM Stan Bowman were well into extension talks, and Bowman seemed confident a deal would be inked.
“I respect Tom [Lynn, Panarin’s agent], he’s a very knowledgeable guy and I know Artemi put a lot of faith in him,” Bowman said. “Tom and I will work to get something done.”
Panarin’s heading into the last of a two-year, $6.775 million deal with a $3.387 AAV — a deal that gained plenty of notoriety as the season progressed. Since it was so performance-laden, Panarin cashed in a couple of times, including a $1.725 million bonus for finishing among the top-10 scorers in the NHL.
That led to Bowman making some tough financial decisions this offseason, including the deal that sent Bryan Bickell — more specifically, Bryan Bickell’s contract — and Teuvo Teravainen to Carolina in exchange for draft picks.
So, this latest situation isn’t anything new for the ‘Hawks GM. He’s been down the financial squeeze road before, and usually found a way to keep his core players in the mix.
If Panarin is considered a core guy — and at this point, it sure sounds like he is — then finding common ground on an extension shouldn’t be too difficult.