Source: Chicago Blackhawks plan on going 'all in' for Artemi Panarin

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Columbus Blue Jackets' Artemi Panarin, of Russia, plays against the Vancouver Canucks during an NHL hockey game in Columbus, Ohio.

    Columbus Blue Jackets' Artemi Panarin, of Russia, plays against the Vancouver Canucks during an NHL hockey game in Columbus, Ohio. Associated Press

  • Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane, left, celebrates scoring a goal with teammate Artemi Panarin, right, against the Los Angeles Kings in 2016.

    Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane, left, celebrates scoring a goal with teammate Artemi Panarin, right, against the Los Angeles Kings in 2016. Associated Press

  • Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin and right wing Patrick Kane skate up ice against the St. Louis Blues.

    Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin and right wing Patrick Kane skate up ice against the St. Louis Blues. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 12/1/2018 4:20 PM

Two minutes after the Blackhawks traded Artemi Panarin to Columbus on June 23, 2017, this thought went through my head: He'll be back.

And now, it's looking like that may be the case as a source has told the Daily Herald that the Blackhawks will be going "all in" if Panarin becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Panarin gave the Blue Jackets a Sept. 13 deadline for a contract extension, so unless he signs with a team that Columbus trades him to, the Russian superstar will see what kind of offers come his way after the season ends.

"Artemi is a proud member of the Columbus Blue Jackets," agent Dan Milstein said Saturday. "He's genuinely happy playing in Columbus. If and when he hits the free market, we would be looking at all options and he will be the one to make the decision."

Two sources have said that Panarin and Patrick Kane are in "regular" contact with each other. They grew extremely close during Panarin's two seasons in Chicago, and Kane was not happy when the trade went down.

"I'd be sitting here lying to you if (I didn't say) my first reaction was pretty emotional," Kane told "Hockey Central" on Sportsnet on June 30, 2017. "A little bit of disappointment too, because obviously we had that chemistry the past couple years."

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Now the question is, how does general manager Stan Bowman make this work? Especially when Panarin could command $10 million or more on the open market?

Actually, it shouldn't be that difficult.

• Assuming nobody is traded and restricted free agents David Kampf and Perlini receive about $1.25 million per year, the Hawks will have $38 million tied up in 11 forwards.

• Depending on which young blue liners are ready and what the Hawks decide to do with Brandon Manning ($2.25M cap hit), there will be about $21 million tied up in defensemen.

• And if Bowman signs Colin Delia to back up Corey Crawford for about $1 million, that's $7 million for two goalies.

Add it up and the Hawks are at around $66 million.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Let's put next year's cap at $82.5 million (it's projected to be between $81.4M and $85.5M). If Panarin agrees to come back for $9 million, the Hawks can still afford another decent forward and are in good shape to sign Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome, both of whom are RFAs after next season.

Now, some might scoff at Panarin agreeing to "just" $9 million, but remember when he signed the two-year, $12 million contract early in 2017, it was because he loved Chicago and wanted the Hawks to be able to pursue other free agents.

"Chicago's pressed against the salary cap," Panarin told Milstein. "I don't want to be that guy. I want to play on a winning team.

"Give them the flexibility so they can retain the guys or sign the new guys because it's not about me. I'm young. I'm going to make plenty of money in my future.

"I just want to make sure the team overall is going to be in good shape."

Milstein echoed those words Saturday.

"My clients have never had the issue that they're trying to squeeze for every penny," he said. "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."

That has to be music to Bowman's ears. And Kane's. And Hawks fans everywhere.

Bowman, however, is going to have to convince Panarin that the Hawks are indeed on the right track. That these last two seasons -- assuming this one doesn't miraculously turn around -- are an aberration and that his return will spark a resurgence.

It could be a tough sell, but Panarin and Kane truly loved playing with each other.

And in the end, that may be all it takes.

• Follow John on Twitter @johndietzdh

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.