Update: It's official - Richard Panik is now a member of the Washington Capitals, signed to a four-year, $11M contract on the opening day of free agency.
The Washington Capitals have signed right wing Richard Panik to a four-year, $11 million contract, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today. Panik’s contract will carry an average annual value of $2.75 million.
Panik, 28, recorded 33 points (14g, 19a) in 75 games with the Arizona Coyotes last season, ranking sixth on the team in points. The 6’1”, 208-pound forward ranked first on Arizona in shot attempt percentage (50.96 percent), on-ice shot attempts per 60 minutes played (60.84), on-ice goals for (44) and goals for per 60 minutes of play (2.71) at five-on-five among Coyotes with at least 50 games played. Additionally, the Martin, Slovakia, native ranked first in goals percentage relative to his teammates (0.99 percent) and second in shot attempt percentage relative to his teammates (2.80 percent).
In 410 career games between the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Chicago Blackhawks and Arizona, Panik has recorded 159 points (75g, 84a).
Panik has recorded at least 33 points in each of the last three seasons, setting a career high with 44 points (22g, 22a) during the 2016-17 season with Chicago.
Panik represented Slovakia at the 2019 IIHF World Championships, recording seven points (1g, 6a) in seven games. Panik has represented Slovakia at the World Championships four times (2010, 2014, 2015, 2019) and at the 2014 Olympic Games, recording 11 points (1g, 10a) in 31 games.
Panik was selected by Tampa Bay in the second round, 52nd overall, in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
After trading Andre Burakovsky to Colorado last week and likely moving on from pending UFA Brett Connolly (who reportedly will sign with Florida), the Caps had a need for a new third-line winger; when he met with the media yesterday, GM Brian MacLellan noted that the focus would be on bringing in a replacement via free agency.
Panik, formerly of the Arizona Coyotes, will be playing for his fifth NHL team in eight seasons. The 2009 draftee (52nd overall) of the Lightning also played for Toronto and Chicago before being traded to the Coyotes in 2017-18.
Richard Panik generally drives play offensively and seems a good fit for #Caps at right wing on the third line. Always depends on the price, but he's been good for 14 goals the past two years and had a 22-goal season with Chicago in 2016-17.— Brian McNally (@bmcnally14) July 1, 2019
Here’s more from The Athletic’s Dom Luszczyszyn:
Richard Panik gets a bit of a bad rep in hockey circles for his lack of consistency, which is likely part of the reason he was shipped out of Chicago two seasons ago. There are worse options than him in this free agency class though. Panik looks like an average player, who fits fine in a team’s middle six.
What you’ll likely get is around 35-to-45 points with some penalty differential issues, but the reason to be enamored with Panik has more to do with his play-driving ability where he’s very strong offensively and can hold his own defensively. Over the last couple seasons, Panik’s teams carry a 52.6 percent expected goals percentage with him on the ice, but that drops to 49 percent with him off. That difference is 66th best mark in the league among forwards over the time frame. His 1.79 points-per-60 rate at 5-on-5 is also solid – and much of that was on a talent-depleted Arizona team.
He’s not a sexy name, but he can help a team at the right price and term. That’s not Evolving Hockey’s projected $4.9-million per season over four years, but a little less could be workable.