Free Agent Profile: Richard Panik

Forward Richard Panik had his most successful season playing for the Chicago Blackhawks. (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)

The first three of our free agent profiles focus on what is considered the top guys of this year’s class. But this profile will focus on somebody that may be referred to as a “value signing,” which can be defined as a signing of a guy for an amount less than his skill set. Each class has a number of these “value signings,” and this profile will feature a candidate for that designation.

The Statistics

Forward Richard Panik is still only 28 years old and is coming off an impressive season with the Arizona Coyotes. He tallied a total of 33 points in 75 games along with 137 hits. He’s not a household name as his best season was a 44 point showing with the Chicago Blackhawks back in 2016. However, it will become evident that Panik has the potential to build on his most recent 33-point season and serve as a valuable role wherever he lands.

The past two seasons, Panik has been great. His Relative Corsi For % (Rel CF%) of 4.1 shows how well his team does with him on the ice rather than off. Interestingly enough, his goals above replacement (GAR) of 20.1 over the past three years is higher than fellow unrestricted free agents Jordan Eberle, Michael Ferland, and Ryan Dzingel. 

This chart is courtesy of Evolving-Hockey.com and shows the average of the past three years.

Above is a chart that examines several different key indicators of success. As you can see, Panik’s offensive indicators — offensive goals for (Off_GF), offensive expected goals (Off_xG), and offensive shot attempts (Off_CF) — all indicate that he has a relatively large positive impact on his team in these areas. His defensive indicators — the latter two bars — are nowhere near the level of his offensive ones but are still solid nonetheless. 

The Contract

As mentioned above, Panik is not considered a top guy in this year’s free agent class. Surprisingly, @EvolvingWild’s contract projections are predicting a four-year deal with a cap hit of $4,884,459. This high projection is most likely due to the impressive underlying numbers Panik has.

Related: Free Agent Profile: Jordan Eberle

Fortunately, for the teams that pursue Panik, he won’t cost that much. A dollar amount in the low-to-mid $3,000,000 range is a safer bet. With that said, general manager Ray Shero better be picking up the phone and calling Panik’s agent.

Conclusion

Panik is not going to be paid like the Ander Lee’s or even the Jordan Eberle’s of this year’s free agent class. Many teams view him as a very solid third-line option, but this doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the ability to serve in a top-six role as he most likely can. An added benefit is the fact that Panik is 6-foot-1, 208 pounds. This would add much-needed size to the Devils lineup.

The addition of Panik to a Devils’ forward group that lacked secondary scoring last year would help. Shero should have Panik near the top of his target list come free agency. Look him to be regarded as a “value signing” by many once free-agency is completed.

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