Artemi Panarin will be representing Russia in the IIHF World Championships, which are set to begin tomorrow. Prior to the tournament, he spoke with Pavel Lysenkov for the IIHF site, and boy, there are some great tidbits in there. (His Russian friends aren't quite sure why people are calling him "Bread Man", for example.)
There's a lot of talk about how his general year with the Blackhawks went, who helped him the most (and he has a lot of love for Artem Anisimov), and in general, just how his rookie season went overall.
Which brings us to the best part of the entire interview: Panarin learning about the bonuses he could earn, and stressing out over them.
I had to be in the top-10 of the league of forwards. I did not think about the bonuses then. A journalist told me about them. And I lost my peace of mind. I asked a friend: send me the list of top-10 scorers. I studied it and started to think. I did not sleep the whole night. I had such a chance! I had to put it together... And I got three points in the first period! And Tarasenko was just behind me on the list. I would have deleted his phone number had he overpassed me! I even told him: "Vladdy, end this!"
Panarin finished ninth in NHL scoring with 77 points, tied with Evgeny Kuznetsov; Vladimir Tarasenko finished tied for 12th with 74. Also, I love that he apparently threatened his friendship with Tarasenko. That's a lot of money for Panarin to leave on the table!
He's already out an extra $5,000, anyway, because of the rookie dinner:
By the way I have still not returned them to Tikhonov. My card did not work then. I asked Viktor: "Do you have money by chance?" And I’ve been paying my debt for half a year. At least now I have some bonuses – I’ll give it all back.
Of course, then there's the question about future money. Bonuses really played a part with Panarin signing with the Blackhawks - but his next contract will have to be a regular NHL one.
I am open for negotiations from 1st July. But Chicago has problems with salary cap, which I do not like. And you cannot earn more from bonuses. They are only meant for rookies.
Well, if there's anyone you make a real effort to re-sign, it's this guy. At least some more contracts will be off the books before Panarin's new deal would kick in!