Blackhawks

Blackhawks: Artemi Panarin to cash in on performance bonuses

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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 generalfanager.com 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.”

NHL Draft Profile: F Oliver Wahlstrom

NHL Draft Profile: F Oliver Wahlstrom

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Oliver Wahlstrom

Position: Right wing
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 205 pounds
Shoots: Right

Scouting report:

"Wahlstrom already has an NHL-caliber shot with a quick release and the ability to create space for himself and linemates. He's most known for his goal-scoring ability and elite shot, and can hit a one-timer as good or better than many professional players."

NHL player comparable: Phil Kessel

Fit for Blackhawks:

The Blackhawks would probably prefer to take a defenseman at No. 8, but because four of them might go inside the Top 7, the best available player on the board is likely to be a forward. And there's a decent chance that could be Wahlstrom.

Wahlstrom would immediately become Chicago's top prospect, and a player that has the potential to slide into the top six when he reaches the NHL — whenever that may be.

He's committed to college for the 2018-19 season, so it's doubtful he would join the team until at least 2019-20, but Blackhawks vice president of amateur scouting Mark Kelley said in our draft preview edition of the Hawks Talk Podcast that it wouldn't deter them from picking him. 

And it shouldn't, because you don't want to waste a player of his caliber's entry-level years developing in the minors if he's not ready yet.

"I think the way we would evaluate it is, we project them, we try to get a timeline on when we think they might be NHL ready," Kelley said. "But we're also looking for where they are in their development curve and want their ceiling is. I think in some players, you have to be a little bit more patient for them to reach their ceiling. That doesn't necessarily mean that players can't exceed their development curve, I think we saw that with Alex DeBrincat last year."

NHL Draft Profile: D Rasmus Dahlin

NHL Draft Profile: D Rasmus Dahlin

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Rasmus Dahlin

Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 181 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"Is the clear-cut No. 1, pro ready prospect for the 2018 draft. He has the skating, skills and elite hockey sense that can dictate the style of play and the pace of a game, whether it's with or without the puck. He finds ways to contribute and get the job done in all situations."

NHL player comparable: Nicklas Lidstrom

Fit for Blackhawks:

There is zero chance the Blackhawks can snag Dahlin, because it's highly unlikely the Buffalo Sabres would consider moving out of the No. 1 spot, and even if they did it would require a king's ransom. But for the sake of this exercise, what would Dahlin do for the Blackhawks organization?

Well, he's a player who immediately slots into your Top 4 and has the potential to emerge as Chicago's best defenseman in the next year or two. We're seeing it in Boston with Charlie McAvoy, Philadelphia with Shayne Gostisbehere and Ivan Provorov, and Columbus with Zach Werenski and Seth Jones where these young defensemen are changing the directions of their franchise's.

That's what Dahlin would do for the Blackhawks, who are in desperate need of a young, impact blue liner. Now back to reality.