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With the Capitals set to lose right wing Brett Connolly to free agency, and the trades of Andre Burakovsky and Matt Niskanen freeing up cap space, General Manager Brian MacLellan will likely look to free agency to solve the Caps’ third-line right wing void, as the Caps look likely to sign pending unrestricted free agent forward Richard Panik in free agency tomorrow.
Per TSN’ Bob McKenzie, the Capitals are likely to sign Panik to a four-year deal worth an average north of $2.5 million a season. NBC Sports Washington’s Brian McNally confirmed the final annual average value of the deal falls at $2.65 million, making the deal a total of $10.6 million over four seasons.
Sounds like Richard Panik will be heading to WSH on a four-year contract. AAV could be somewhere north of $2.5M.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 1, 2019
Correcting the Richard Panik numbers, folks: It is $2.65 million AAV for four years. Was just going with what I was told by a source with direct knowledge. They have corrected. I’ll own it. $2.65 million. #Caps
— Brian McNally (@bmcnally14) July 1, 2019
The 28-year old, Czechoslovakia-born forward is a former second-round pick by the Tampa Bay Lightning who recorded 33 points (14 goals, 19 assists) in 75 games played with the Arizona Coyotes this past season and has 159 points in 410 games played in his NHL career.
Recently, NoVa Caps’ Harrison Brown looked at potential free agent fits for the Capitals in free agency, and identified Panik as a potential fit.
Panik please. https://t.co/UL9sLkrmGH
— Harrison Brown (@HarrisonB927077) June 30, 2019
Connolly is purportedly set to sign a four-year deal with the Florida Panthers tomorrow in free agency, and MacLellan opened the door for free agency as an avenue to replace him when he spoke with the media a few days ago.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) July 1, 2019
Panik has recorded a combined 112 points (50 goals, 62 assists) in 229 games played with Arizona and the Chicago Blackhawks, averaging 15:30 of ice time; Connolly, in that same span with the Caps, recorded 96 points (52 goals, 44 assists) in 217 games played with the Capitals while averaging 12:06 of ice time. While he certainly adds some offensive flair to the Caps, he is not a player that is used heavily in defensive situations, being better known as a player that drives the play in a game. Additionally, while he ranked sixth on the Coyotes in power play time this past season (148:43), he recorded just two assists.
By Michael Fleetwood