Richard Panik showed flashes of potential in the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs playing on the top line alongside Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, and it's no secret both he and the Blackhawks would like to build on that success.
That was confirmed Sunday when general manager Stan Bowman told Scott Powers of The Athletic that the team is expecting to iron out a deal with Panik, who's an unrestricted free agent, to return to Chicago.
“We’ve had discussions, and I don’t think the contract is going to be a challenge,” Bowman said. “I think we’re going to get that worked out. I think he’s going to be a part of it. We’re looking for him to take that next step in his career.”
Panik had six goals and two assists in 30 regular-season games since joining the Blackhawks in January via a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Jeremy Morin.
The 25-year-old forward also had three assists in six games against the St. Louis Blues in the first round of the postseason.
Up against the salary cap, Panik would give the Blackhawks a forward that can make an impact on any of the four lines at a cost-controlled price.