Joel Quenneville has his mind set on lifting the Stanley Cup and not next season's salary cap situation.
The Chicago Blackhawks coach said Artemi Panarin's potential contract bonuses won't affect how the forward is used down the stretch this season. The star winger has bonuses built into his contract that could potentially trigger if he continues his impressive production.
"It’s a situation that as a coach we’re trying to win hockey games and we try to put guys in the best spots to have success." Quenneville said. "He’s really helped us along the way here and has been effective and consistent all year long, so we want to see players do the best they can and we’re not going to get in the way of success."
Here's a breakdown of Panarin's contract bonuses from last month. The specific bonus being discussed is the Schedule B bonus that will pay $1.725 million if Panarin finishes top 10 among NHL forwards in goals, assists or points (or wins Conn Smythe). He's currently tied for 10th in points (62), so you can see why there is discussion as to whether the team might alter his usage in order to save millions. However, Q's comments suggest that won't happen.