Chicago has rewarded Richard Panik following his best-ever NHL campaign.
Panik, who scored a career-high 22 goals and 44 points last season, has signed a two-year, $5.6 million extension, per TSN. The new deal carries a $2.8 million average annual cap hit, a nice bump from the $875,000 Panik made in ’16-17.
Always high on talent — he was the 52nd overall pick in 2009 — Panik took a while to find his game at the big league level. He was drafted by the Bolts and appeared in 75 games for the club, but was waived and scooped by Toronto, where he played in another 76 contests.
In January of 2016, he was flipped to Chicago for Jeremy Morin, and that’s when things took off. He scored eight points in 30 regular season games — then another three in six playoff appearances — and seemed to leave quite the impression on ‘Hawks GM Stan Bowman.
“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.”
Financially speaking, this is a good deal for both sides. Panik gets a pretty healthy raise, yet the ‘Hawks get a 22-goal scorer locked in for less than $3 million annually.