The Toronto Marlies somehow just got a lot scarier today, as Leafs forward Richard Panik successfully cleared waivers and has been assigned to the team’s AHL affiliate. This comes a day after the claim of Frank Corrado from the Vancouver Canucks, and will likely be accompanied by the recall of Scott Harrington in time for tonight’s season opener.
Panik scored eleven goals and six assists in 76 games with the Leafs, in which he averaged just 11:39 of ice time per game. His 1.02 even strength points per 60 minutes ranked him ninth amongst regular Leafs players. Panik also proved himself to not be a defensive liability, with the Leafs having 1.4% more of the attempted shots on goal when he was on the ice than when he wasn’t.
It’s going to be really interesting to see what Panik can bring to the table for the Marlies, if he’s to stay down for an extended period of time. While he didn’t play in the AHL last year, he scored eleven points in thirteen games with the Syracuse Crunch in 2013/14, and had 55 points in 67 regular season and playoff games in 2012/13. He was also part of the 2011/12 Norfolk Admirals, who swept the Marlies in the Calder Cup Finals.
A few years more experienced and with plenty more NHL games under his belt, one could expect Panik’s talent level to be highest it’s ever been. The insane part, though, is that the team might not have room for him to truly show it off; with Connor Brown, Kasperi Kapanen, and Matt Frattin joining him on right wing, he’ll have to compete for a spot just as hard as he had to on the Leafs.
Needless to say, the Marlies are going to score a billion goals this year.
This move also shows strong asset management on the part of the Leafs. Even if Panik were to be claimed, I’d consider Corrado an upgrade on him in terms of present use and future potential, so to have them both in the organization is fantastic.
Since Panik’s demotion brought the team down to 22 players on the roster, the Leafs are also expected to call up Scott Harrington for tonight’s game. He’s projected to play on a line with Martin Marincin, according to our friends at Daily Faceoff.