"He played very well Sunday against the Czech Republic," said Spitfires general manager Warren Rychel, who caught up with the team's prospect in Mississauga along with European consultant Mike Kokavec. "He picked up an assist (in a 5-2 loss) and we talked to him afterwards."
This is nothing out of the ordinary because this good for teams to look at players for the next Import Draft.
Why would the Spitfires want Panik to join this season. It all comes down to money. If he does come over this season, the Spitfires will receive the developmental money from the NHL. Rychel makes a good point if he doesn't come over this season, it will be easier for him to come in next season.
Because of the development money that goes with a high-end NHL pick, Panik has remained in the Czech Republic this year playing for HC Ocelari and HC Havirov.
Once he's drafted by an NHL team, that development money will remain in Europe, but Rychel feels Panik will then be free to come to Windsor.
"We feel real good that he'll get a chance to develop in Windsor," Rychel said. "We're looking forward to seeing him in a Spitfire uniform."
The Redline Report doesn't like how Trinec has handled Panik.
This year Trinec is making the exact same mistake with even more promising prospect Richard Panik. He missed the first month-and-a-half due to a knee injury suffered before the Ivan Hlinka Cup in early August, and returned to action in less than top shape. Since his return in mid-October the ritual of frequent promotions and demotions has been a regular source of bad comedy for Czech and Slovakian scouts.
Here's a brief example how bizarre the situation can get: in the last week of November, Panik played for Trinec's senior team on Tuesday and Thursday, for their junior team on Friday and for the Havirov senior team in the First League on Saturday. Is that any way to develop players? For those of you counting at home, that's four games for three teams in three different leagues over five days — oh, and with a total of zero practices mixed in.
Panik made the same mistake as Kundratek by refusing to come over to the CHL because he believed he would see regular playing time with Trinec's senior team. Now, however, there's a strong rumor that he won't return to Trinec after the world juniors, and will instead stay in Windsor who selected him in the import draft. Stay tuned – if that's the case Panik could help put a powerhouse Spitfires club over the top without having to deal away young talent at the OHL trade deadline.
Talk about overworking the kid. That's four games in a week. The kid will be wornout by the time the Under-18's come around in April. I would say these kids should jump over to North America as soon as they can but it's such a major decision I can't fault kids if they want to stay home. You just wish the adults would use better mangement skills.
That's My Take
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)