Earlier this offseason, just prior to the start of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman dropped an absolute BOMB on when he reported that Columbus Blue Jackets sniper Artemi Panarin could be in play on the trade market.
According to Friedman, Panarin is unwilling to negotiate a new contract with the Blue Jackets this offseason. Panarin, of course, is slated to hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent in 2019. Rather than risk losing him to free agency for nothing, Friedman asserts that Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen will shop Panarin on the trade market for the best available return.
As for his potential destination, Friedman reports that the rumblings around the draft indicate that Panarin has three preferred localities:
Draft rumblings were that Artemi Panarin’s preferences (in no particular order) are Los Angeles, New York and Florida.
Obviously the Blue Jackets have yet to consummate a deal with either of those three teams and Panarin remains in the team’s plans for 2018-19, but it must be frustrating for both the team and its fanbase to head into a pivotal season with so much uncertainty. Does Panarin want to stay in Columbus longterm and if so, what will he cost?
Aaron Portzline of The Athletic recently caught up with Panarin’s agent, Daniel Milstein, and managed to pry some interesting tidbits out of the veteran player agent.
Check it out:
He’s not ready to sign. Is he gonna sign? Look at it this way, I don’t even know what the hell they’re going to offer. I’ve read some comments that this is the agent’s work, that we’re holding out to get the most money out of them, but it isn’t.
I think they’d give him 11 million freaking dollars if he really wanted it. But I haven’t even discussed anything with them. I’ve seen reports of $9 million to $10 million.
We’re not holding out for more money, because if I called Jarmo right now, he’d probably drive up to my house and we’d put a deal together.
(Panarin’s) biggest thing is … he loves the team, he loves the coach. It’s not the team or the way they treat him. It’s about, does he want to spend the next eight years in Columbus?
If it was a two-year deal we probably would have done it. But it isn’t a two-year deal. It’s gonna have to be an extended, seven- or eight-year deal put in place.
So… if we’re doing the math here, that’s at least a seven year deal worth at least $9 million per year? As much as an eight year deal with $11 million per year? Yikes. No doubt that Panarin is a valuable player to the Blue Jackets, but is he worth THAT much? Interesting times in Columbus, to say the least.