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‘Hawks want to extend Panarin this summer

The Chicago Blackhawks aren’t messing around with keeping Artemi Panarin in the fold.

Per the Sun-Times, ‘Hawks GM Stan Bowman said the plan is to work on a contract extension with Panarin this summer -- even though the Russian rookie’s entry-level deal has one more year on it, and won’t expire until July 2017.

“Patrick Kane would be pretty upset if we didn’t,” Bowman said.

Bowman’s remarks are in reference to the Panarin-Kane-Artem Anisimov line, which has been virtually unstoppable for most of this season. Kane leads the NHL in points, with 73, while Panarin leads all rookie skaters with 46.

(In both instances, Kane and Panarin are way out in front -- Jamie Benn sits second in NHL scoring with 58 points, while Jack Eichel is second among rookies with 34).

It’ll be really interesting to see the financials on Panarin’s next deal.

His current ELC is a complex one, laden with performance bonuses (see here for more). The important thing for Chicago is that it only carries a $812,500 cap hit -- but that’s unlikely to be the case with his second deal.

Panarin will be 25 next season and will probably be looking to cash in -- he got a late start to his NHL career, after spending his first seven professional seasons in the KHL.

That said, he’s still an RFA at the expiration of his current deal, meaning Bowman and the ‘Hawks have some control over the situation.