Below is an excerpt from General Manager Stan Bowman's interview on the 2015-16 Blackhawks Insider podcast. Click here to hear the complete conversation.
On Artemi Panarin's bonuses, and what that means for the salary cap:
There has been a lot of talk about Panarin's bonuses, and I think it's fantastic for Panarin to have achieved what he has; I don't look at it as a negative at all. What he's done here as a rookie is-I don't want to say it's unprecedented, but it hasn't happened in a long, long time. For a guy in his first year in the league to finish in the top 10 in scoring, that's why those bonuses are rarely earned, and he's done something very special this year.
It's a credit to Panarin for being able to make that contribution, and our team wouldn't be where we are without him. There's no question about that. You look at where we would be, and he's come in and made a huge difference. Not only the plays that's he's made, but also how he's ignited Patrick [Kane] to have the season he's had. So for me it's nothing but hats off to him. Great job.
As far as this summer, I've said this many times before, but with so many unknowns in the situation-we don't know what the salary cap is going to be-at this point it's premature to assume anything. We'll get that figured out in due time, and we always find a way to make that work, but that's not the focus right now. We're excited for Panarin; I'm glad that he keeps scoring. We keep winning games when he keeps scoring and setting up plays, so we hope there's more of that to come.
On Panarin's ceiling:
I wouldn't be honest if I expected him to come in here and [be top 10 in scoring in the whole league]. That never happens for rookies; I don't know the last rookie to be top 10 in scoring, but it's been quite a while. Now that we've seen what he can do, there's still room for improvement. He's still a young guy, 24 years old, so he has not reached his potential yet. I think he's going to get better as he gets more comfortable-not that he isn't comfortable now, but you have to grow your game. All you have to do is look at Kane or Toews, and they're better now than they were three years ago, and Panarin is on that same career path. He's a couple years younger than Toews and Kane and I expect him to keep getting better.