The Chicago Blackhawks are committed to Artemi Panarin after this season and that shouldn't come as too much of a surprise. The Hawks re-signed their best player this season to a new 2-year contract extension, reportedly worth $12 million in total, a $6 million cap hit for each season.
Panarin currently ranks 12th overall in pool scoring with 15 goals and 37 points in 37 games for the team, solidifying himself as a 1st round pick for next season, one would assume.
The Blackhawks are going to walk a fine line after this season, with the expansion draft coming up for the Golden Knights and the salary cap number, whatever that turns out to be. By my rough count, the Hawks will need another forward under contract to not expose Panarin in the expansion draft, which isn't an issue, thanks to limited amounts of forwards that are not exempt, due to pro years. A rough count, indeed.
For the 2018 season, they still need a back-up goalie on the books, but they still have a 23-man roster that fits under today's cap ceiling. Barely. My count shows 14 forwards, 8 defensemen and a goalie with $588k to spare.