An impending restricted free agent, Panik inked a one-year contract Wednesday with the club that acquired him in January from the Toronto Maple Leafs. The value of the contract has yet to be disclosed.
After arriving in Chicago for forward prospect Jeremy Morin, Panik, 25, appeared in 30 games with the Blackhawks, potting six goals and eight points. During the 2016 playoffs, the right wing tallied three assists in six games.
“Can play right wing or left wing, and he’s played on the first line, third line, fourth line because he’s got some versatility to his game, which is what we like,” GM Stan Bowman told The Athletic in May.
“He’s got a great skill set. He’s fast. He’s strong. He’s competitive. He’s physical. So now we’re just looking for him to put it all together on a consistent basis.
“Because when he brings his best game, he’s a dominant player.”
Panik started the 2015-16 season with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League, where he collected nine goals and 16 helpers in 33 games.
His current one-year, $950,000 contract will expire on July 1, when his new deal kicks in.
The native of Martin, Slovakia, has notched 25 goals and 22 assists in 181 career NHL games spanning parts of four seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning (2012-14) and the Leafs (2014-15).
Tampa Bay’s third selection (52nd overall) in the 2009 NHL Draft, Panik has also registered 41 goals and 83 points in 120 career AHL tilts with the Norfolk Admirals (2009-10, 2011-12) and Syracuse Crunch (2012-2014). He helped Norfolk capture the 2012 Calder Cup, collecting five goals and six points in 18 postseason contests.
Panik began his professional career in the 2007-08 season with Ocelari Trinec of the Czech Hockey League, where he played two seasons.
After that, he played four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League with Windsor (2009-10), Belleville (2009-11) and Guelph (2011).
He represented his native Slovakia in the 2014 Winter Olympics and thrice at the World Championship (2010, 2014, 2015).
Source says #Blackhawks fully expect to re-sign Andrew Shaw with Bickell's contract off the books. Still waiting on cap number, though.
— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) June 15, 2016