Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman dropped an absolute BOMB ahead of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft last week when he reported that Columbus Blue Jackets sniper Artemi Panarin could be in play on the trade market this offseason.
According to Friedman, Panarin is unwilling to negotiate a new contract with the Blue Jackets this offseason and 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.
Ouch… that hurts if you’re a Blue Jackets fan. Panarin was absolutely ELECTRIC for the Blue Jackets last season after being acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks in a deal that included Brandon Saad. The Russian sniper potted 27 goals and 81 points in 82 games during his first season in Columbus and almost single handedly, along with goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, defeated the eventual Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals in round one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Now… he could be a one and done in CBJ. Double ouch.
As for his potential destination, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman reports that the rumblings around last weekend’s draft indicate that Panarin has three preferred localities.
Check it out:
Draft rumblings were that Artemi Panarin’s preferences (in no particular order) are Los Angeles, New York and Florida.
Wow… that’s kind of surprising, no? Of those three teams only the Los Angeles Kings managed to qualify for the post season last year and they were quickly swept by the Vegas Golden Knights. The Florida Panthers seem to be in a perpetual rebuild and the New York Rangers are busy gutting their roster for the future. If indeed Friedman is referring to the New York Islanders rather than the Rangers… well they’ve got a whole other well publicized mess going on. It’s hard to imagine Panarin wanting to leave the Blue Jackets for any of those three teams…
You have to imagine that the Blackhawks would be interested if indeed Panarin ends up on the trade block, as he had tremendous success when paired with superstar Patrick Kane. At this point, Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman would surely LOVE a “do over” of the Panarin for Saad trade. Whether or not he gets his chance though remains to be seen.