Something In The Way – ’15-’16 Preview – Artemi Panarin

Moving onto the forwards, Artemi Panarin is the biggest wild card of the recent influx of Russians to the Hawks, who have not had a Russian forward in nearly 8 years after Sergei Samsonov (remember him?) was dealt to Carolina. Panarin will undoubtedly be labeled an highly skilled, an enigma, a malcontent, lazy, or all of the above because that’s just the way it works with Russians in the NHL. But with Patrick Sharp and Brandon Saad now gone, there’s a real opportunity for Panarin to make some noise on the left side.

2014 – 2015 SKA St. Petersburg 54G 26G 36A 

For the KHL, that’s about as much as can be hoped for regarding a stat line for Panarin. There’s not much that can even be speculated about any kind of possession numbers. To put things in perspective, Alex Radulov led the league with 71 points. At the other end of the spectrum, Matt Ellison (yes, THAT Matt Ellison) was 8th in scoring with 57 points, five fewer than Panarin. 

A couple encouraging things about Panarin with respect to gauging his numbers: he is still only 23 and will be 24 at the end of October, and his scoring output has steadily increased with age, particularly with St. Petersburg. In 106 regular season games with SKA St. Pete, he has 103 points. He was also good for 20 points in 20 games during the KHL playoffs where St. Pete won the Gagarin Cup, and had 10 points in 10 games at the World Championships where Russia took Silver. So at least at the international level, it’s clear that Panarin has quantifiable scorer’s instincts.

Regarding the type of player he is, he’s a right handed shot who plays on his off wing, and is listed at 5’11”, 192lbs, which for comparison’s sake is the same height and 12 pounds more than what Andrew Shaw is listed at. But obviously their games are quite different. Reports have him as a pass-first playmaking winger with a quick enough wrist shot from in tight to keep defenders honest.

The worry with European imports, particularly diminutive playmakers, is the lack of real estate in the North American game. The wall and large angry men arrive much quicker this side of the Atlantic, and it will be something Panarin will have to adjust to quickly to maintain a spot in the lineup. Additionally, he’ll need to learn to at least pretend to give a shit about his own end of the rink under Joel Quenneville. Panarin has an out in his contract to go back to Russia should he not break camp with the big club, bug given the paucity of real scoring threats on the left side now, he’d have to royally fuck things up to not get a look in the early going. If he can be properly sheltered and actually given power play time he might be able to outscore whatever defensive issues he has early on. The skill is certainly there.


  • jordyhawk

    I can’t wait to see him and Dano. I know my expectations are too high for both of them, but I can’t help it. It just is. One thing he better be aware of is that when you cut back into the middle to shoot there’s usually a train waiting for you in this league so head up.

    One thing I am optimistic about however is the impact the new guys have on the PP. I have yet to see anything out of camp on what the setups look like, but above guys plus Daley plus TT might just give it the shot in the arm it’s needed for awhile now.

    One other note, Jonny may have won gold at WJC(s), World Championship, Olympic(s), and Stanley Cup(s) but there’s still that hole in his resume of no Gagarin Cups.

    • ZigZags82

      Or you know, winning back to back Stanley Cups and be issued into the forever laurels of the NHL as one of the greatest players and teams ever (Even more so). It’s all in front of them for this season.

      Back to back this year for #4

      #5 to cap it all off in a few. Maybe more.

      • Joe Banks

        I gotta like the way you think.

    • Jim

      The new players make this a season to anticipate.

    • MySpoonIsTooBig

      Yeah, uhm, let’s go ahead and hope that Johnny never adds that Gagarin cup to his resume…

  • SuperHawk27

    He looks pretty good in the shootout. Kinda reminds me of Oshie. We’ll see how he does with less room though. Should be fun to watch!

  • GoldenJet

    Cautious optimist….yet really excited to see these kids play.

  • Matt

    Seems like if a guy can make the transition to a smaller rink, it’d be a skill guy, no? Either way, excited to see Panarin and Dano, as jordyhawk mentioned.

  • AirTrafficAJ

    He should be even faster in the NHL without all those advertisements weighing him down.

  • Sopel the catfish

    I’m looking forward to seeing some real creative stuff between Teuvo and Panarin, just flashing around and in between people

  • The_Cheeb

    Re: Panarin, Tikhonov, and Gustaffson, can someone spell out the specific apparatus by which the Blackhawks acquired each of them? Were they complete free agents who picked Chicago? I have seen many slight differences in the wording of how the ‘Hawks signed them.

    • MySpoonIsTooBig

      Yes, all 3 were complete free agents. The differences in the wording of how the ‘Hawks signed them have to do with their different ages and levels of NHL experience.

      Tikhonov was drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes in 2008, signed his entry-level deal with them, and spent 3 years in their system (61 games in the NHL as a rookie, otherwise in the AHL). I’m not sure if Phoenix never tendered him a QO or what, but when his EL expired he left for the KHL. He’s 27 now so even if the Coyotes had retained his RFA rights those have now expired, so he was an unrestricted free agent and free to sign anywhere if he wanted to return to the NHL. He will be an unrestricted free agent when his contract expires after this season. Analogous to Jaromir Jagr: left the NHL for the KHL, decided to return a few years later, didn’t have an NHL contract so was an unrestricted free agent

      Gustaffson was drafted by the Oilers in the 4th round of the 2012 draft, which was his 3rd and final draft-eligible year. When Edmonton failed to sign him to an EL they lost his NHL rights, and because he’d aged out and was no longer draft-eligible he was free to sign with any NHL team. Given his age and lack of NHL experience, the only type of contract he was eligible to sign with any NHL team was a 2-year entry level deal with strict limits on salary and bonuses and will be a restricted free agent when his contract expires in 2017. Analogous to Kevin Hayes, Justin Schulz, Mike Reilly, etc.: didn’t sign with the team that drafted him, became a fee agent, signed his EL with the team of his choosing.

      Panarin was never drafted by any NHL team and is too old to be draft eligible now, so when he decided to leave the KHL and give the NHL a go he was an unrestricted free agent. However, similar to Gustaffson, given his age and lack of prior NHL experience the only type of contract he was eligible to sign was a 2-year entry level deal and he will also be a restricted free agent when his contract expires in 2017. Analogous to undrafted college free agents like Kyle Baun, Drew LeBlanc, Martin St. Louis, Dino Ciccareli, etc. – never drafted and aged out of the draft, free to sign an EL with any NHL team.

      So yeah, all 3 were unrestricted free agents who picked Chicago ahead of any number of other suitors. The differences lie in what their prior NHL experiences entailed, what type of contract they were eligible to sign, and what their statuses will be when their contracts expire.

      • The_Cheeb

        Thanks ! Their status interests me. I assume the Hawks will continue to lose draft picks while rearranging salary and positioning themselves for playoff runs. HOWEVER– if they can continue to pluck these international free agents, it helps make up for the draft picks they trade.

      • Sopel the catfish

        Nicely done