Super sophomore Artemi Panarin recently inked a two-year extension that will tie him to the Blackhawks through his restricted free agent years. Upon the expiration of the pact, one that carries an AAV of $6MM, Panarin will be a UFA and at 28 should be positioned to land a lucrative long-term deal in free agency. The structure is ideal for Panarin, as it allows him to max out his earnings over the next two years while still allowing him to reach free agency while still young enough to command a max-term deal. As Chris Kuc and Chris Hine of the Chicago Tribune write, the deal overcame a late and unexpected obstacle in order to reach the finish line.
Panarin decided to change representation from Tom Lynn to Dan Milstein just before the agreement was finalized but the former stayed on to help the new agent complete the negotiations. Lynn, a former assistant GM with the Wild, has a strong relationship with Chicago assistant GM Norm MacIver and that helped grease the wheels on the arrangement. Milstein credits Lynn for his professionalism in difficult circumstances.
“After Artemi told him about the change, (Lynn) offered to stay on to help in any way he could,” Milstein told the Tribune. “He had called me and offered to pass on any and all things he had worked on previously. He and I consulted closely … (and) the whole thing came together in 48 hours.
“(Lynn) was very instrumental and he’s a class act. Ninety-nine percent of people would have hung up the phone and never spoke to you again. I can’t say anything bad about Tom and I know Artemi can’t say anything (bad) either.”
Panarin, who doesn’t speak English well, made the move because of the language barrier.
“As somebody who doesn’t really speak English fluently, it was a little bit of a hassle to bring everything to a translator first, have meetings and have to go through a translation at some point,” Panarin said via an interpreter. “I felt more comfortable getting somebody who speaks Russian.”
Kuc and Hine report that a source conveyed that despite what Milstein said, the relationship he shared with Lynn “was not as amicable as Milstein portrayed.” Regardless, Chicago and Panarin were ultimately able to find common ground and work out a deal both sides were happy with.
Elsewhere around the NHL tonight:
- Sam Carchidi of Philly.com wonders whether the Flyers should re-sign goaltender Steve Mason to serve as a bridge to the team’s prospects at the position. According to Carchidi, the plan at the beginning of the campaign was to allow Mason and Michal Neuvirth, both pending free agents, to compete to see which one would earn an extension but injuries to Neuvirth have allowed Mason to take the lead in that competition by default. Ultimately the scribe feels Neuvirth is simply too injury-prone to be counted on as an undisputed #1 goalie. Carchidi believes a strong second half would nearly guarantee that the Flyers would look to re-up Mason. As it stands, should the team extend Mason, the team would have to expose young net minder Anthony Stolarz, who Carchidi feels has potential. The best bet, in the opinion of Carchidi, might be to deal Neuvirth and add another goaltender under contract for 2017-18 and whom they can leave exposed for the expansion draft.
- Sticking with the Flyers, the Department of Player Safety will not have a hearing with Wayne Simmonds for his hit that knocked Lightning forward J.T. Brown out of yesterday’s game, tweets Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times. Smith adds that Brown has been placed on IR requiring him to sit out at least seven days as a result.
- With Buffalo hosting Winnipeg last night, John Vogl of The Buffalo News revisits the blockbuster trade the two clubs made nearly two years ago. On February 11, 2015, Buffalo acquired winger Evender Kane, defenseman Zach Bogosian, and young goaltender Jason Kasdorf in exchange for defenseman Tyler Myers, winger Drew Stafford, forward prospects Joel Armia and Brendan Lemieux and a 1st round draft pick. While Kane has struggled to produce up to his talent level, he did hit the 20-goal plateau last season and is on an 82-game pace for 26 goals this season. Myers, meanwhile, has missed all but 11 games this season but did contribute 27 points in 73 contests last season. Stafford had a 21-goal campaign a year ago but has slumped to just three this season. Vogl considers it too early to declare a winner, though with the 20-year-old Lemieux and Jack Roslovic – the player chosen with that first round pick – still developing, the Jets have a good chance of ultimately coming out ahead in the swap.