The Blackhawks have lost a lot of young, star talent over the last few years. On Wednesday, they guaranteed they’d hold onto their latest star a little longer.
Artemi Panarin agreed to a two-year deal with the Blackhawks, the team officially announced Thursday morning. Scott Powers of The Athletic was the first to report the deal. Bob McKenzie of TSN reports that Panarin’s contract is $6 million for each season, with $4.2 million coming as a signing bonus this coming season.
The deal means the Blackhawks get one of their top scorers sewn up in a bridge deal, not the long-term deal that was originally anticipated. It also means a longer life for what’s been a very productive second line with he, Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane.
[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]
But what does it mean for the Blackhawks’ bottom line, which will once again be fighting the salary cap?
Counting Panarin’s new contract, the Blackhawks already have more than $66 million dedicated to 15 players, per capfriendly.com. Also, Panarin could very well earn the same $2.57 million in performance bonuses he garnered last season. Those bonuses would come out of the 2017-18 cap. The Blackhawks could shed some cash and a player in the expansion draft. Marcus Kruger, who will be in the second year of his current contract ($3.08 cap hit per season), will likely be exposed in that draft.
For now, the Blackhawks will take solace in locking up Panarin, who is already set to cash in on bonuses for the second consecutive season. Panarin had 77 points (30 goals, 47 assists) in his rookie year and went on to take the Calder Trophy for the league’s top rookie. He has 15 goals and 22 assists through 37 games this season.
We all knew the 2010s were good to the Hawks and their fans, this salute is just the cherry on the sundae. There's no arguing that with three Stanley Cups (2010, 2013, 2015) in six seasons, they're incredibly deserving of the title.
Chicago ended a 49-year Stanley Cup drought in 2010 and captured first place in the Central Division in 2010, 2013 and 2016. The Hawks also won the President's Trophy awarded to the team with the most points in the NHL in 2013 after starting the season 21-0-3.
Who can forgot moments like beating the Detroit Red Wings in Game 7 of the 2013 Western Conference Final after trailing the series 3-1, Kane's Game 6 overtime goal in 2010 to snag the cup, 17 seconds and winning it on home ice in 2015.
"It's been special," Jonathan Toews told NHL.com. "At the end of the day it's not easy, it's a lot of hard work. A lot of teammates and friends have come through this locker room and left to play for other teams or retire -- there's always a different scenario -- but I'm pretty thankful for what I've been able to be a part of. For me, Chicago has become a home. You're around the city, people are thanking you for the championships and that will never get old. Great memories and obviously a pretty special time when were able to make those Cup runs."
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Host Pat Boyle is joined by Blackhawks Insider Charlie Roumeliotis, and NBCS Chicago producer Slavko Bekovic as they debate the nuclear line of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, have the Hawks found their identity as a team, predictions for the next few games as the Hawks head to the bye week.
(1:00) - Hawks forced to use Kane and Toews on the same line
(6:15) - Dominik Kubalik is doing well with Kane and Toews
(9:55) - Colliton doesn't have a healthy roster right now
(14:12) - What is the identity of this team?
(17:18) - Maybe the Hawks have a chance at a Wildcard spot
(20:24) - Kirby Dach is getting opportunities on the power play
(23:48) - How will the Hawks play vs the Panthers and Joel Quenneville?
(26:30) - Predictions on the next few gamesListen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:
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