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Richard Panik signed a two-year contract extension Thursday as the Chicago Blackhawks took the first steps towards improving the roster for the 2017-18 season.

Panik, coming off of the best NHL regular season of his career, signed a two-year-extension which according to Pierre Lebrun on Twitter will be a 2.8 million dollar hit against the cap each season respectively. The 26-year-old native of Martin, Slovakia earned time on the Jonathan Toews line this season due to his increased efforts on both offense and defense. Panik posted career highs in hits (147), goals (22), assists (22), points (44), and a plus-rating of 14 through 82 contests in the 2016-17 season. As a matter of fact it was the first season in which Panik has played all 82 games. Ultimately this is a fantastic value-deal for the Chicago Blackhawks due to the fact that it is not a massive cap allocation even if Panik’s performance takes a downward turn. On the other hand, if Panik continues to show consistent and proficient play on the ice, he is locked in for two years at great value and potentially increases his trade interest after the 2018-19 regular season.

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