The Chicago Blackhawks made one of the biggest trades of the summer, sending talented forward Artemi Panarin to the Columbus Blue Jackets in a deal which brought Brandon Saad back to Chicago. The trade was a shock to fans after Panarin’s outstanding 2016-17 season, but one of the most surprised and disappointed by the news was Patrick Kane.
Kane spoke with the Chicago Sun-Times and revealed his disappointment and surprise over losing his linemate.
“I’d be lying to you if I was sitting up here saying I wasn’t disappointed when it first went down, no doubt about it. Artemi’s a great kid, someone I got along with really well off the ice and had that chemistry with on the ice. It was just fun to play with him every night. I’ll miss him, for sure.”
Kane wasn’t alone with his comments as Panarin’s other old linemate, Artem Anisimov, echoed a similar sentiment.
“I was shocked, actually. It’s hard to see my close friend going to my old team. But on the ice, when we play each other, I’m going to try to hit him and do whatever it takes to win the game.”
Kane and Anisimov won’t object to Saad returning, but there’s little surprise that they’re disappointed Panarin is moving on. Kane had two strong seasons with Panarin, first winning the Hart trophy in 2015-16 before scoring 89 total points last season. Meanwhile, Anisimov had 22 goals (tying a career-high) and 44 points (setting a career-high) last year. The two thrived with Panarin as their linemate. Now, Kane and Anisimov will either find a new linemate or they may find themselves on different lines entirely.
The two current Blackhawks may be a bit sad to see Panarin leave, but it was a move Chicago GM Stan Bowman felt he had to make to make his team more difficult to play against. Though both Kane and Anisimov thrived with Panarin, the Blackhawks as a whole were far short from being a Cup contender, exiting in the first round in back-to-back seasons.
Will Bowman’s gamble pay off? We’ll soon find out.