The New York Rangers might have announced that they were entering a rebuilding process, they might have found the piece that will fast-forward the retooling mode immensely. While star forward Artemi Panarin was one of the biggest turning point in the Columbus Blue Jackets' recent success, it seems likely that he could be moved before the start of the season. With the unrestricted free agency looming in the 2019 offseason for Panarin, the situation in Columbus seems to be getting quite complicated and it feels like the Rangers are in the perfect spot to land the Russian sniper.
According to Blue Jackets team insider Aaron Portzline for The Athletic, there has been speculation that Panarin's destination of choice is in New York, with the Rangers, though the rumour has not been confirmed by his agent Daniel Milstein.
The Rangers might not be looking to trade for a pending unrestricted free agent, however, if Panarin can be convinced to sign an extension right away with New York, there might be a possible deal in place.
"Here’s one theory floating around the NHL among front-office types: Panarin’s desired destination is the New York Rangers. That doesn’t mean he’ll end up in Manhattan, but many believe that’s the club at the top of Panarin’s list. The Rangers, in the process of a short-term rebuild, aren’t willing to trade anything for Panarin right now, because the timing isn’t right for them. They don’t expect a playoff berth out of this season, only another top draft pick and another year of experience for their cluster of top young players. Plus, why would the Rangers give up anything for Panarin now when they can acquire him next summer as a free agent? The Blue Jackets say they don’t have an indication this is true. Panarin’s agent, Daniel Milstein, has denied the Rangers are his client’s No. 1 pick. But three different sources — from three different clubs — all said they heard Rangers."
Who knows? The Jackets could try to work out a deal with another club and then ask Panarin if he’d consider signing a contract extension. It could be a game-changer for the Rangers, who appear to attract Panarin the most. When the rumors first erupted of his refusal to sign with the Jackets, New York Times reporter Larry Brooks had reported that the Russian forward was looking to sign with a popular market, and New York would definitely answer his desire.
"Artemi Panarin’s decision not to engage in negotiations for an extension with the Blue Jackets was motivated solely by his desire to play and live in a major market. You (and more to the point, he) can take it to the bank that the Rangers will be all in if the transcendent Bread Man reaches free agency next summer."
The Jackets and Rangers might have no other choice than to work a deal together, since Portzline believes other rival clubs might be deterred to try and land Panarin if New York is involved.
"If enough people across the league believe Panarin wants to play for the Rangers, that’s going to significantly curb the kind of offers the Blue Jackets can expect."
Let's wait and see...