Here we are, in the midst of another dreadful Blackhawks season filled with tons of drama. Although it may seem all doom and gloom right now, the bigger picture is as bright as it ever was. Earlier today, Daily Herald Blackhawks beat writer, John Dietz, published a piece about the Blackhawks reportedly being “All In” on signing Artemi Panarin in free agency.
SOURCE: #Blackhawks plan on going “all in” for Artemi Panarin.
Panarin’s agent, Dan Milstein: “My clients have never had the issue that they’re trying to squeeze for every penny. … I don’t think it’s going to be all about the money.”https://t.co/eJApony3rE
— John Dietz (@johndietzdh) December 1, 2018
If the Blackhawks continue at the rate that they are, we may also be looking at another Top 10 draft pick and possibly even selecting the consensus number 1 overall pick, Jack Hughes.
This is a different story for another time though.
Revisiting the Artemi Panarin Possibility for Blackhawks
Artemi Panarin to Chicago is not as crazy of an idea as it once was. By trading Nick Schmaltz to the Arizona Coyotes, the Blackhawks have freed up a nice chunk of change that they were intending to pay Schmaltz next offseason. Now, they can use that $6 million to address other needs. One of those needs is forward depth.
After the Top 6, the Blackhawks become a blend of AHL caliber players and unproven youngsters. This, along with an almost nonexistent defense, is not a recipe for success in the NHL. This is where Panarin comes in and provides an instant, long-term upgrade.
Everyone knows how successful the dynamic Panarin-Anisimov-Kane line was. In case you forgot, here’s a quick trip down memory lane.
Although reuniting this line would cost a pretty penny, there’s no doubt that it would help turn this team around a lot faster than going full rebuild would. Panarin’s agent, Dan Milstein, had some interesting insight into the Artemi Panarin situation in regards to the Blackhawks situation. Here’s what Milstein had to say,
My clients have never had the issue that they’re trying to squeeze for every penny. When he signed that $6 million deal, it’s a comfort level for himself and for family and such. That is all I can say to you. I don’t think it’s going to be all about the money.
Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin have also reportedly stayed in close contact over the past couple of years. The Kane and Panarin connection will most likely play a huge role in whether or not Panarin decides to come back home to Chicago.
Patrick Kane saying “I miss you.” to Artemi Panarin:
All of this should be seen as good news and I’m sure this is also music to StanBo’s ears. Not only does he get a chance to make up for one of the worst trades in Blackhawks’ history, but he also gets to instantly improve this team and possibly even save his job. Although, many fans will have mixed feelings about the latter part of the previous sentence and for good reason.
What Would the Blackhawks Look Like If They Bring Artemi Panarin Back?
I actually did a little due diligence before John Dietz’s article was published earlier today. A few days ago, I used the amazing CapFriendly.com website to throw together a theoretical 2019-20 Blackhawks roster that includes Artemi Panarin. I bumped the Salary Cap up to $82.5 mil which is what John Dietz proposed and this is the roster I was able to come up with:
Now, this actually looks like a roster that can compete with the rest of the league next season.
Keep in mind, Alex DeBrincat, Dylan Strome, and a few other players will need a contract extension, so cap space will be critical going forward. There are a few additional moves that I didn’t include in my theoretical CapFriendly 2019-20 Chicago Blackhawks virtual team.
I believe the Blackhawks may try to get Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, and Corey Crawford to waive their No Movement Clauses this season and pursue trades to free up additional cap space and add future draft picks.
Let’s see if StanBo has the balls to pull something like this off and do it the right way.
For more Blackhawks news and updates, follow the author @Certified_TonyG on Twitter.