Panik signed a one-year contract with the Blackhawks on Wednesday. Panik appeared in 30 games with the Blackhawks last season after Chicago acquired the left-handed winger from Toronto in exchange for Jeremy Morin in Jan. The 6-foot-1 forward tallied six goals and two assists over that span, occasionally getting an opportunity to skate alongside Jonathan Toews on the 'Hawks first line. Panik also drew into six playoff games during Chicago's brief postseason run, but was relegated to a bottom-six role for half of those contests. He did, however, skate on Chicago's top line during the team's final three playoff games, and rewarded the Blackhawks with three assists and 17 hits over that span. Panik will likely start the 2016-17 season where he ended the 2015-16 campaign, skating with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa on Chicago's first line.
Panik tied the game with a second-period goal during Sunday's 3-2 shootout loss to the Wild. The 25-year-old has just four goals on the season, and isn't a big fantasy producer. However, he was solid against the Wild, putting three shots on goal and delivering three hits in just 11:34 on the ice. The shots are encouraging, as he's got seven in the last two games. Panik's tally was his first since Feb. 2.
Panik will get the opportunity to play on Chicago's first line Monday against the Maple Leafs, Tracey Myers of CSN Chicago reports. Panik is currently bogged down in a five-game scoring drought, but an injury to Marian Hossa (lower body) presents the winger a chance to get his season back on track. In his first five games after being traded to the Blackhawks, the 25-year-old tallied two goals and an assist. However, since then, Panik has netted a lone point in nine outings.
Panik found the back of the net Tuesday, helping the Blackhawks to a 2-1 win over the Avalanche. Panik has scored twice in the past five games but it's worth noting that his playing time has been quite sporadic from one game to the next. The Slovak fell below the 10-minute mark in a pair of games that surrounded 12:15 on the ice against the Panthers on Jan. 22. The unpredictable level of playing time continued Tuesday as he was on the rink for 13:35, the most he's played in nine games this campaign. It's tough for a guy like Panik to establish an offensive rhythm when dealing with such inconsistent playing time so it's best to wait for that to happen before deploying him outside of deep fantasy leagues.
Panik rifled one past the netminder Tuesday against Nashville. Panik has two scores and a helper in five games since being acquired by the Blackhawks. The immediate impact by the 24-year-old shows why Chicago was willing to take a chance on the winger, despite him failing to impress in Toronto and Tampa Bay.
Last 7 Games
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