Blackhawks getting high-end skill in Artemi Panarin

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OSTRAVA, CZECH REPUBLIC -- Viktor Tikhonov had just lost a preliminary-round game to Team USA in the IIHF World Championship, no small deal for the reigning champs from Russia.

But the serious answers he gave in Russian shifted to a smile when he was asked in English about teammate Artemi Panarin.

Panarin agreed to terms with the Chicago Blackhawks on a two-year entry-level contract, with Chicago beating out strong interest from six other teams, according to Scott Powers.

The 23-year-old forward has been playing in the KHL for seven years, and Tikhonov was told that Blackhawks fans are excited that he chose their team as the one with which he’s starting his NHL career.

Tikhonov smiled.

“They should be,” Tikhonov said. “I think honestly, he’s probably the most talented kid in the KHL.