While many expected that Artemi Panarin would land a new contract between $6MM-$7MM, the fact that he only got two years was a bit of a surprise. Speaking with Chris Hine of the Chicago Tribune, Panarin’s agent, Tom Lynn, noted that Panarin was willing to take a small discount to stay on a short-term deal but wasn’t willing to on a long-term pact:
“We both, in a friendly way, recognized a long-term deal wasn’t feasible (and) not only moneywise. He’s two years away from getting no movement clauses. … that wasn’t feasible to give up unrestricted years on a discounted deal. At the same time neither side was into a one-year deal, just putting off the same conversation (until next year).”
Talks between the Blackhawks and Panarin had been ongoing since the summer; he had been eligible to sign an extension as of July 1st.
Hine suggests that center Marcus Kruger (with a cap hit of just under $3.1MM) could become one of the cap casualties and that he’s a prime candidate to be left unprotected in the upcoming Las Vegas expansion draft. He also notes that Rob Scuderi’s retained cap hit of just over $1.1MM will be off the books next season but that may still not be enough to squeeze in Panarin’s $6MM cap hit beginning next year.
More notes on the deal:
- USA Today’s Kevin Allen argues that the signing is a compromise in which neither side is happy but both sides are pleased with. While it’s not the long-term signing that both sides would have liked to get done, it at least gets him locked in for two more years alongside Patrick Kane as one of the most dynamic duos in the league and buys GM Stan Bowman more time to find a way to make room for him as a long-term fixture in a couple of years. Finding a way to fit him in on UFA money could be a challenge though as Allen suggests that Panarin could be worth upwards of $9MM when he hits the open market in the summer of 2019.
- One of the keys towards being able to fit in Panarin on his next deal will be the state of the Canadian dollar, writes Mark Lazarus of the Chicago Sun-Times. It has been trending downwards in recent years which has played a big role in the cap largely stagnating.
- While the smaller than anticipated cap hit provides a sliver of optimism that Bowman may be able to keep the entire core intact, it’s still an unlikely proposition, suggests Charlie Roumeliotis of CSN Chicago. Instead, it’s likely that they will have to further rely on young players on their entry-level deals to round out the roster such as defenseman Ville Pokka or winger Alex DeBrincat, who was a second round pick of the Blackhawks back in June.