Update: On Wednesday, Artemi Panarin’s agent confirmed that the Russian sniper has indeed signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Hearing free-agent F Artemi Panarin, who led KHL champion St. Petersburg in scoring, is getting close to joining the Chicago Blackhawks.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) April 28, 2015
Panarin, who will turn 24 on Oct. 30, posted 26 goals with 36 assists in 54 regular season games for the KHL champions this season to lead a roster that included former NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk. He then added five goals and 15 assists in 20 playoff games. In 2013-14 he registered 20 goals and 20 assists in 51 games. In 263 career regular season games in the KHL, Panarin has scored 76 goals with 107 assists. Listed at 5-11 and 170 pounds, Hockey’s Future had the following to say about him:
“Oddly never drafted despite sporting an impressive resume, Artemi Panarin is a technically sound player with great skating abilities, an excellent nose for the net, and a magician’s hands. He has also proven to be a very clutch player.”
In his 30 Thoughts column in late March, Friedman said the following of Panarin:
“Panarin wants to play in the upcoming world championship, so he’s not coming now, but whoever gets him can sign him to a two-year, two-way, entry-level contract.”
Friedman later added the following on Twitter: