Columbus Blue Jackets star forward Artemi Panarin gave the club as deadline, and just like that, the deadline is tomorrow… On Sept. 13, Panarin wants all business matters pushed aside…
Though a contract extension for the forward remains possible, GM Jarmo Kekalainen wouldn’t commit to either opening the season at the Detroit Red Wings on Oct. 4.
“I can’t,” Kekalainen said to NHL.com. “In this business, there’s always talks between the general managers whether you’ve got pending free agents or not. We talk regularly. Sometimes there’s trades. So I’m not speculating on them. I’m just saying we talk all the time, so I wouldn’t say about any player whether they’re a pending free agent or not that they’ll be on our team in October because anything can happen between now and Oct. 3.”
It seems now, according to insider Jimmy Murphy, that trade chatter Jha picked up on Panarin, and the Boston Bruins are involved. While nothing is close for now, it seems that the Bruins are working hard at landing the Russian sniper.
While Panarin will report to camp and play out the last year on his contract, the Blue Jackets might feel pressured to move him sooner rather than later. Which sounds like good news for the Bruins.
However, let’s not forget that the Florida Panthers and New York Rangers have also shown interest in landing Panarin.
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. Panarin was one of the biggest turning point in the Blue Jackets’ recent success and it appears now we are growing further apart from a repeat in Columbus…
The Blue Jackets have until July 1 to sign Panarin before he can become an unrestricted free agent. They also face the same situation with star netminder Sergei Bobrovsky.
Kekalainen wouldn't speculate on how long the Blue Jackets would be willing to wait if there isn't progress in contract talks.