Blackhawks: Artemi Panarin to cash in on performance bonuses


Blackhawks: Artemi Panarin to cash in on performance bonuses

COLUMBUS, Ohio — It’s been a very productive season for Blackhawks rookie Artemi Panarin. It’s about to be a very profitable one, too.

Panarin, who recorded three points in the first period against the Columbus Blue Jackets, will earn $2.575 million in performance bonuses this season. Part of Panarin’s productive first included his 30th goal of the season. He’s the first Blackhawks rookie to hit that number since Eric Daze did it in the 1995-96 season.

The 24-year-old has been on a hot streak lately, recording five goals and eight assists in his last four-plus games (including the first period of Saturday’s contest). Panarin had already earned $850,000 in Schedule A bonuses; to collect another $1.725 million, Panarin had to finish as a top-10 forward in one of the following: goals, assists, points or points per game. His performance on Saturday ensures he’ll do that.

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Yes, that means the Blackhawks will be in salary-cap hell again next season.

According to Panarin’s bonuses, as well as Michal Rozsival’s — $100,000 for 50 games played — means the Blackhawks will have $2.9 million in bonuses counting against next season’s cap. So the team that has had to say goodbye to many players over the years due to salary-cap constraints will probably be doing it again this offseason.

Coach Joel Quenneville said a few days ago that there was “no chance” he would sit Panarin if the Russian was close to achieving his bonuses.

“My perspective is, I like when players are successful and they meet their goals. We’ll do everything we can to help them be the best they can. That’s our motivation here. The other stuff sorts itself out,” Quenneville said Saturday morning. “It doesn’t help us, but at the same time, we don’t mind having to deal with those type of issues.”

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Ottawa Senators tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Trade chips.

The Blackhawks have reached the point in their season where they have no choice but to become sellers before the Feb. 26 deadline, and we saw that when they traded Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals on Monday for a conditional third-round pick in 2018. Tommy Wingels could also be an attractive piece for a team looking to fill out their depth.

The Senators will definitely be sellers, and wow do they have some names potentially on the market that can fetch large returns: Derrick Brassard and Mike Hoffman are two players who log top-six minutes on a nightly basis and also have term left on their contract, which is great for teams looking to load up for this year and beyond.

The biggest name to watch, probably in the league altogether, is Erik Karlsson, who could be on the move if a team offers a big enough package for the Senators to pull the trigger now as opposed to in the offseason if they feel him re-signing is a long shot. He was the best defenseman last season, and if a team steps up to get him, they're getting two possible postseason runs out of him.

2. Artem Anisimov's experiment at left wing not working.

Joel Quenneville has tried rekindling the magic between Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane as of late, only this time Anisimov is playing the wing and it just hasn't been very effective. The trio was on the ice for each of the two 5-on-5 goals the Kings scored on Monday, and Anisimov completely lost his man on the first one.

It's important to establish a consistent left winger for Schmaltz and Kane, and maybe putting Alex DeBrincat up there is something you consider going forward as part of a long-term solution. Move Anisimov back down as the third-line center to play in more of a defensive role and continue using his big body on power plays for his offensive abilities might be the best bet.

3. Win the special teams battle.

In their last meeting against Ottawa on Jan. 9, the Blackhawks went 4-for-6 on the power play and 4-on-4 on the penalty kill in an 8-2 win. And those are two areas to look out for again.

The Senators own the 28th-ranked power play with a 16.1 percent success rate and 29th-ranked penalty kill with a 74.5 percent success rate. Get ready for another offensive outburst?

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?


Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Adam Burish and Pat Boyle discuss which Blackhawks could be on the trading block and what players are building blocks for the Hawks future.

Burish also shares a couple memorable trade deadline days and his “near” return to the Blackhawks in 2012. Plus, he makes his bold trade deadline prediction for the Hawks.

Listen to the full Blackhawks Talk Podcast right here: