Detroit Red Wings: Richard Panik might be out the door sooner than later

(Andre Ringuette via USA TODAY Sports)
(Andre Ringuette via USA TODAY Sports) /

The trade deadline recently passed, and the Detroit Red Wings dropped a blockbuster trade on the league, moving one of the team’s best forwards. General Manager (GM) Steve Yzerman opted to move on from forward Anthony Mantha in exchange for draft capital and two forwards.

Beyond the trade itself, which still seems like the Detroit Red Wings fleeced the Washington Capitals, there are some more things to think about. Forward Richard Panik brings a three-year, $2.75 million salary-cap hit that Yzerman easily gulped up.

Vrana, the offensive comparable to Mantha, is due for an arbitration hearing this offseason, where he is currently taking home $3.35 million. Even with three years left on his deal, there is a chance that Panik finds himself in a new jersey between now and next October.

It is early to know how things will play out with protected lists, but Yzerman might be apt to leave Panik exposed for the NHL Expansion Draft, which is on the horizon as the Seattle Kraken will look to pilfer players and build their roster.

Fans remember the last time this happened in the recent past, resulting in the Vegas Goldenknights rising to stardom pretty quickly. With a new GM at the helm in Yzerman, the Red Wings will get a different set-up in the summer of 2021, and it will be interesting to see who is left exposed; Panik could very well be one of them left dangling.

Newly acquired Detroit Red Wings forward Richard Panik could be left dangling in the NHL Expansion Draft.

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The 30-year-old forward has played in the NHL for nine years now for six different teams, including the Red Wings.

He has been in Washington with the Capitals organization since the start of the 2019-20 season.

In 2019-20, Panik played 59 games where he managed nine goals and 13 assists for 22 total points.

A far cry from his 22 goals and 22 assists for 44 points over all-82 games of the 2016-17 season with the Chicago Blackhawks.

But that is water under the bridge; maybe the offense will click on for Panik. If so, the Red Wings might be forced to keep the Slovakian forward safe from the Kraken in the Expansion Draft.

But, so far this year, the scoring has not been there for Panik, who has been underperforming past campaigns in his journey around the league.

In 36 games for the Capitals, Panik has netted three goals and tallied six assists for just nine points. It has not been the season Panik was hoping for, all the more reason the Capitals jumped on Mantha in the blockbuster trade.

If fans have learned anything, it is that sometimes a change of scenery is all the player needs. Those still confused, see Robby Fabbri. It does not always work out with the grass being greener on the other side; see Brendan Perlini.

Next. Detroit Red Wings: 4 players who benefit from the Anthony Mantha trade. dark

The bottom line is, Panik could find himself as a player exposed to the Kraken if Yzerman chooses to leave him dangling after parting ways with Mantha.