The Chicago Blackhawks are poised to re-sign RFA right wing Richard Panik, according to general manager Stan Bowman.
“We’ve had discussions, and I don’t think the contract is going to be a challenge,” Bowman told Scott Powers. “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 was acquired in a midseason transaction with the Maple Leafs that sent Jeremy Morin to Toronto. He was able to contribute some, putting up eight points in 30 regular season contests and another three through the ‘Hawks six playoff games.
“He’s got a great skill set. He’s fast. He’s strong. He’s competitive. He’s physical. So now we’re just looking for him to put it all together on a consistent basis,” Bowman said.
Panik had some good moments, and the team benefitted from his speed when he was on, but he was also the beneficiary of working with some top-level linemates.
Last season he played under a one-year pact carrying a $975,000 cap hit. Despite a bit of an increase in production at the end of the year, he was also scratched at times, making it unlikely that he sees too much of a pay raise.
“We’re going to need players like him to come and really take the next step and play even a bigger role,” Bowman told Powers. With Chicago’s annual cap struggles, there are always opportunities for a player of Panik’s ilk to step up into a big role and find themselves in a favorable situation.