The rich got richer this week in the National Hockey League, as reports are that KHL star Artemi Panarin has agreed to a deal with the Chicago Blackhawks.
But our old pal Elliotte Friedman shared his weekly 30 Thoughts earlier today, and revealed that the Flames were nearly the North American landing spot for the talented Russian.
Calgary, Montreal, Pittsburgh and Toronto all made strong pitches.
Sounds like the Flames — who heavily pursued him — were closest, but
with so many small, talented forwards already in position (Sam Bennett,
Johnny Gaudreau, Markus Granlund, Jiri Hudler), Panarin thought that
might be too many.
The downside is that the Flames missed out on a very talented 23-year-old player – Panarin had 62 points in 54 games with the KHL Champions from SKA St. Petersburg. However, the reason is because his representation felt that Calgary already has too many talented players.
That’s not terrible.
For what it’s worth, Friedman noted that Panarin’s agent also represents Victor Tikhonov, who is reportedly eying an NHL comeback. He’s 26 and a bit bigger than Panarin, and like Panarin is also a right-handed shot. Considering that the phones between the Flames and agent Tom Lynn obviously work, don’t be shocked if you hear rumours about Tikhonov over the summer. Agents frequently double-back to old potential spots for their other clients, and the Flames still want to accumulate right-handed shots.
Heck, all three skaters that they’ve signed for next season – Austin Carroll, Garnet Hathaway and Kenney Morrison – are right-handers, so obviously they’re trying to address that need.