TSN's Bob McKenzie reports the Tampa Bay Lightning have waived one-time highly ranked prospect Richard Panik. If Panik clears waivers by noon on Thursday he'll be assigned to the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL.
The move signals the apparent end of The Panik Project, which began when the enigmatic Slovakian turned pro before the 2011-2012 season. Speaking with Bolt Prospects before that season, then-Norfolk coach Jon Cooper said his job was to find what motivated Panik personally, surround him with proper veteran leadership, then monitor his development closely. After a slow start, Cooper got the best out of Panik, and the 6-2 winger responded with 19 goals and 41 points in 64 games. He disappeared in the playoffs while the Admirals won the Calder Cup, accumulating just six points (five goals) in 18 games. A year later, Panik and his game had resurfaced and he had 22 goals and 41 points with the Syracuse Crunch in 51 games, earning an All-Star spot and a promotion to Tampa Bay to reunite with Cooper, who had been named Lightning coach late in the year. Panik had nine points in 25 games, then starred in the AHL playoffs for the Crunch, dominating games for the Calder Cup finalists.