NHL Rumor Mill – July 16, 2018

by | Jul 16, 2018 | Rumors | 59 comments

Updates on Artemi Panarin and Jason Zucker in your NHL rumor mill.

Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin will meet with general manager Jarmo Kekalainen today in France (Photo via NHL Images)


SPORTSNET: Daniel Goffenberg cites reports indicating Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen will meet today with Artemi Panarin, who is vacationing in France. The 26-year-old left wing becomes an unrestricted free agent next July and recently expressed reluctance in signing a contract extension. Kekalainen is reportedly gauging Panarin’s value in the trade market.

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports Kekalainen doesn’t intend to beg or persuade Panarin to change his mind, but will instead “make clear to Panarin how the next 12 months would be handled in Columbus, that he could be traded at any time if the Blue Jackets get what they consider to be a fair offer.”  Portzline adds Kekalainen and Panarin’s agent, Dan Milstein, expect the winger will open the 2018-19 season with the Blue Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kekalainen would prefer Panarin commit to a contract extension, but if that’s not possible, the Blue Jackets GM will trade him instead of losing the talented winger next summer to free agency. I believe Kekalainen doesn’t want this situation to drag out into 2018-19 but he’s not going to make a hasty decision. 

Kekalainen reportedly want something that helps his roster immediately and for the future. However, the best offers thus far apparently contain draft picks and prospects. Perhaps the earliest Kekalainen gets a suitable proposal is during training camp or preseason, when interested parties have had an opportunity to evaluate their rosters before the start of the regular season. 


TWINCITIES.COM: Dane Mizutani recently reported Jason Zucker hopes to remain with the Minnesota Wild but isn’t sure what his future holds. A restricted free agent, the 26-year-old winger filed for salary arbitration on July 5.

Zucker’s been the subject of frequent trade speculation since Paul Fenton took over as general manager in May. The winger earned $2 million last season and seeks a big raise – perhaps in the $5-million range – after tallying 33 goals and 31 assists last season, but his lack of playoff production could make management reluctant to make a long-term commitment. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild reached the playoffs in each of the last six seasons but advanced beyond the first round just twice. That’s generated considerable grumbling among frustrated Wild followers and led to the recent change in management.

There’s been speculation Fenton could shake up the core of the roster. Zucker and fellow Wild forwards Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter have been mentioned as possible trade candidates, but it’s his free-agent status that’s put him at the forefront of media trade chatter.

If Zucker and the Wild avoid arbitration and agree to a long-term deal it’ll signal that Fenton has faith in the winger as a key part of their core going forward. But if he gets an arbiter-awarded one-year contract, it’ll likely signal the beginning of the end of his tenure in Minnesota.  



  1. What would AZ & Vegas be willing to give up to get Panarin?

      • My favorite is the linkage of the he Russian forward to their Russian goaltender’s contract, like they are good friends, old friends, when in fact they didn’t know each other until after the acquisition of Panarin. It is laughable, since Panarin speaks very little English, it is not difficult to see why he would gravitate towards Bobrovsky in the same way he was friends with Artem Anisimov in Chicago.
        Does it matter where they trade him? It looks like he already has a UFA destination planned, doesn’t it?

    • Sorry, but other than draft picks (Which will not be enough.), Az and Vegas don’t have anything the Jackets want. Oh, DoubleMinor, considering the Jackets have Dubois, Wennberg, Riley and Sedlak down the middle and, potentially, Duclair and Abromov able to play center, the last thing the Jackets need is yet another center. Just off the top of my head, I would think that Jarmo is going to be looking for a left winger, a prospect and a pick just to start the conversation.

      • That’s a good point, VGK not necessarily needing Haula anymore doesn’t mean that CBJ needs him either. May have to be a three-way deal to make that work which complicates things though there are teams with practically zero center depth.

      • Understand, I don’t have any special insight into the Jackets. All I’m doing is looking at their roster and the Cleveland Monsters’ roster, then speculating what I would be looking for based on that. Even then, it’s difficult to predict what Jarmo will do because he’s one of those people who doesn’t let his left hand know what the right hand is doing. Even suggesting that he might want a left winger in any deal for Panarin is a little bit of a stretch as Abromov is a left winger who spent half of last season playing center in juniors.

      • Zucharello, Spooner and 1st rd pick

      • I would think Columbus would only trade him if another scoring winger is coming back. He fits the prototypical smallish Habs winger tradition but other than Patches there would need to be more..and would he sign longterm there

      • I this about what the Blue jackets wants or what Panarin wants?
        If he has a specific destination in mind, Columbus takes whatever is the best trade option and the team (who planarian doesn’t want to play for) will deal with the numbers and have to move him again, or lose him as a UFA…I don’t think this is as much of a $ issue as it is a desire to play in a specific town….

      • Bill Placzek, remember that everything concerning Panarin is just speculation. We have only three facts to go on, right now. 1) Panarin saying that he doesn’t want to talk about an extension “at this time”. 2) Panarin’s agent has stated that Panarin doesn’t want to sign a long term extension. 3) The Jackets are willing to listen to trade offers for Panarin. For all any of us know, there are talks about signing Panarin to a 2 – 4 years contract. Or being willing to sign a longer extension as long as there is the possibility of him being traded after a certain number of years. I have no doubt that Jarmo would prefer to get Panarin signed for eight years. I also have no doubt that he’s flexible enough to work on a shorter deal.

  2. Meeting between #CBJ GM Jarmo Kekalainen and F Artemi Panarin has finished in Paris. Kekalainen declined comment. Daniel Milstein, agent for Panarin, said it was “good conversation,” but “no contract progress at this time.”

  3. Panarin had a good playoff (again) . He simply does not want an 8 year deal in Columbus. Either sign a 3 year or get out of dodge.
    I think a deal with Pacioretty could work with other pieces involved that’s satisfied roster and depth needs . Panarin a little more of an impact and point producing player.

    • An interesting proposition. You may be on to something. I do have my concerns, though. 1) Patches is also in the last year of his contract. Would he sign an extension and, if so, would it blow out the Jackets’ salary cap? 2) Vitaly Abromov is a left winger and has been blowing away the competition in juniors. Could bringing in Patches keep Abromov from making the Jackets’ roster, as many expect him to do within the next two years? 3) Who/what else may be involved in the deal and how would these other pieces effect the Jackets? That said, this is something for the Jackets should explore. And, congrats, your’s is the first suggested trade for Panarin I’ve read that doesn’t treat the Jackets like a dumping ground for unwanted/over the hill players.

      • Your #1 winger is never blocking a player from making the team. You need several good wingers to form a good forward group, and given that the Jackets are not one of the leagues elite teams up front, they absolutely should not be thinking about a player being blocked by adding a good forward (especially when we are talking about a deal where they lose their best forward).

        If Panarin doesn’t want to sign an immediate extension with a new team, this deal is quite difficult. They may be better off going into the season with him on the roster. If Columbus is playing very well, they may want to keep him as an own rental, and that may even entice him to stay. If they aren’t playing well, they can at the very least get a rental type deal done with some sort of conditional pick on him re-signing. Buffalo managed to get pretty good value for E. Kane this way. Panarin would be worth much more in a conditional deal than that.

      • Danny, while I agree with you that the Jackets’ sole elite winger is Panarin, they also have a very deep forward group. While not, yet, household names, Anderson, Atkinson, Bjorkstrand,Dubouis, Foligno, Jenner, Wennberg and Milano give the Jackets lots of scoring options. Add in prospects like Abromov, Braodhurst and Hannikainnen (the later two solid 3rd/4th line wingers) and the concern of someone like Pacioretty blocking a younger player is real.

      • Unwanted, over the hill? Zucharello is a year older than patches and was Rangers leading scorer. ( also played for Torts)Spooner is younger than Panarin …Also, Patches for Panarin would be a swap of left wingers, so I don’t understand who one or the other would be keeping a younger player from playing

      • Spooner is a center, the Jackets are loaded at center. Zucharello is a right wing. Who’s position does he take? Anderson? Atkinson? Foligno? Plus, you’re talking an in division trade. Not gonna happen. Give me one good reason the Jackets should help any team within the same division get better.

      • First off Montreal would not take panarin if he doesn’t sign and all signs point to him hitting FA so there’s no way Montreal takes him especially if it’ll cost more then patches … MB usually trades one for one deals it looks like so they might just say screw it trade one for one …. they are both UFA’s

      • Paul Bowles. Zuc can play left wing and Spooner plays primarily wing but could play center. That wasn’t the point of my comment. My reply was to your comment about “unwanted/over the hill” players. Was just a suggestion, nobody knows exactly what a deal would look like.

      • Slick, check the Rangers’ roster on their website. Spooner isn’t even listed, meaning he’s a free agent of some kind. And just because someone leads a bad team in scoring doesn’t mean he’s a good player.

      • Paul Bowles. Rangers had a bad year last season, but, Zuc also lead them in scoring 3 out of 4 previous seasons… all years they where in playoffs. Spooner is a rfa.

      • I do wonder if a three team swap (and it would have to be a three team swap) where Patches ends up in CBJ and Panerin ends up with the other team. This year is lost one for the Habs. Getting prospect, especially a centre that is a year away, and picks should be just fine for Mtl. Patches is going to be solid for at least the next few years, eaning CBJ gets the right now piece. No clue who team three would be, what contract stuff would also have to be worked out etc. The point is I do think there is a strong starting point for a swap there.

      • Slick, and the Rangers are in the same division. What you propose is not a “make them an offer they can’t refuse” offer. And that’s, almost certainly, what Jarmo would need to make any in division trade.

      • Paul Bowles,

        Don’t even bother. A month ago he was on a Tavares tear, the last 2 weeks Karlsson… now on to the next shiny object NY won’t pursue. Next week it will be Mcdavid for Chytl and Zuccarello….. it’s desperation at its finest setting in on some of the fan base

  4. The Jackets should really hope that Panarin is willing to go to the Islanders. They have the ability to offer the best return.

    Or hope that the Rangers will change course on their rebuild and go after him.

    It’s going to be hard to get back a player even 2/3 as good as Panarin.

    • trading within the Metro could be last resort

      • Why? Any GM who turns down a better deal for his franchise simply because it’s with a team in the same division (or conference) will soon be looking for another job. This isn’t 40-50 years ago when a team faced an opponent 10 or 12 times a season. If Dorion gets the best offer from Tampa or the Islanders for Karlsson then that’s where he’s headed. Any other approach is idiotic in this day and age when you play an opponent maybe 4 times a year.

    • What, exactly, do the Islanders have that the Jackets would want? Draft picks, since they’re going to, potentially, be the worst team in the league, this year? And as ds has noted (And I’ve repeatedly stated.), unless an Eastern Conference team comes up with a “make him an offer he can’t refuse” type deal, the Jackets won’t be trading to any team in the Eastern Conference.

      • Nobody is going to make a deal without assurances that he’ll extend, and in that regard Panarin holds the cards. Columbus can trade him to another team, but will not get return they would with a team he wants to sign with

      • I wouldn’t say nobody makes the deal, just that the return will be less.

        Look at the truckload that NYR got from Boston for a couple months of Rick Nash…a full year of Panarin with at least a possibility of signing him long-term is certainly worth more than that to several teams.

      • After re-reading both of our comments I realized I basically paraphrased exactly what you said…sorry bout that!

      • No worries, DM, I’ve done the same thing. And you never know, something could happen that no one ever considered.

      • Why would Panarin makes this easy on the jackets? The team(s) he wants to play for would have to give up decent to good assets to trade for him… thus weakening the team(s) he wants to play for. Why not play out the year and then sign with the team that now still has those assets to help with being a competitor? If that’s Panarin thinking then jackets will get his value as a rental. Still would likely be the best rental available at the deadline. But dreams of getting another established top 6 winger plus evaporate at that point.

      • Ott will be the worst team in the league. I have NYI being competitive but missing the playoffs, middle of the pack average.

      • Realistically, the Jackets should be looking for picks and prospects. They are a good but not great team that has the last 3 Stanley Cup champs in their division. They have good young players like Dubois, Anderson, Jones and Werenski to build around.

        The Isles have lots of assets but need a marquee player.

        Personally, I hope the Isles continue to miss out on top players and that the Jackets let Panarin and Bob walk for nothing, but…such a deal would help both clubs.

      • MG, the last thing Jarmo will do is let Panarin and Bob walk away for nothing.

      • The Islanders have a marquee player …. Barzal….85 points his rookie year…. to put that into perspective, that’s more than Stamkos, Tavares had their rookie seasons.

  5. I will throw this out there at my own peril…. and read …. this is just a food for thought/ships and giggles idea

    …. with the knowledge that Bjorkstrand (sp??) and Duclair can play both RW & LW….. and putting aside the almost impossible nature of intra-divisional trades (very rare exceptions like in Feb: Chi/Nsh and Winn/StL)

    …. what about Kessel – Panarin flip

    Reminder …. I’m in the very small minority group who believe PK has reached his peak … IMO Panarin/Kessel will be on par production wise this year…. using that assumption….

    … and yes I know Torts has had some issues re PK in past

    I’m just asking all …. were Kessel playing for a team in the west (all stats in past the same)… would Jarmo consider a 1 for 1 flip


    • Pengy, as I said, earlier, Jarmo doesn’t let his right hand know what his left hand is doing, so asking if something is possible can only rate a “With Jarmo, anything is possible” answer. That said, there is a lot of bad blood between the Jackets and Penguins. Which, in my opinion only, would make any trade between them, at best, very unlikely. However, I find the idea of acquiring Kessel interesting, while also acknowledging that it might make certain resignings (I’m thinking Bob and Werenski.) very difficult. As a pure hockey trade, I kind of like it.

      • Paul,

        Noted and makes sense

        As also pointed out by DS …. PK not playing for Torts … no way Clb on his list

        I was just throwing out the idea to lighten the day up! 🙂

      • If I’m Clb I get Panarin signed to what ever he will sign, his agent said if this were a 2 or a 3 year deal he would sign so get that done. Kick the problem down the road a few years.

        Panarin, Dubois, Atkinson.
        Foligno, Wennberg, Bjorkstrand.
        Jenner, Nash, Anderson.
        Dubinsky, Sedlak, Milano.
        Spare. Duclair.

        This is a solid forward group. Very close to elite. Many of the talking heads had them as cup winners last season when the season started & they should be better this season.

        When they submit their 23 man roster they will have close to 7 mil in cap space. A trade for another Dman or UFA veteran signing to flush out the top 6 is expected for me. A player like Enstrom or Hamhuis to play on the 3rd pairing with Nutivarra signed to a 1 or 2 year deal would make sense.

      • Striker, pretty sure his agent said last week “if it were a 2-3 year deal… but it won’t be”. He told Gm they should probably look to trade him.

      • Striker. Here are some quotes from his agent
        “That’s the only thing at stake right now. 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.”

        “Jarmo’s trying to find a trade partner, and if the team wants to know about his long-term plans, Jarmo would have to give (the opposing GM) permission to speak with me. I have not asked (Kekalainen) to speak to any clubs and, certainly, he hasn’t asked me if I would be willing to talk to any clubs. I believe all (30) clubs would love to have him, but I can’t see anybody trading for him without picking up the phone and checking with me first.”

    • Kessel 1000% not playing for Torts. The World Cup snub was terrible team management and we saw the results on the ice too.

      Ducks could use him and that gives him LA area to live

      • DS

        For ships and giggles … what would Ducks throw back?

      • @Pengy- I do not see a roster player they would move that Columbus would want…

        Torts loves Kesler…too bad he is out for the season or career

      • “is agent said if this were a 2 or a 3 year deal he would sign so get that done”

        He never said any such thing. You and many others have totally misunderstood what he said. In talking about Panarin signing a long term deal, he said that it not like they were talking about 3 year deal. That doesn’t mean that Panarin wants or would accept a short term deal

        Besides, it makes no sense that Panarin would be interested in a short term deal. First, the reasons he doesn’t want to sign aren’t going to change. Second, he’ll never be worth more than he is right now. He can probably count on $8X7.

    • “Look at the truckload that NYR got from Boston for a couple months of Rick Nash…”

      You mistakenly believe that Nash would have been worth more if he had another year on his contract. You have it exactly backwards. The value of many players at the trade deadline lies in the fact the the receiving team gets the guy for the playoffs, but they don’t count against the cap for the whole season. It’s basically cap circumvention technique. That is why prices are generally higher at the deadline than during other times of the year.

      • Panarin seems to have a short list as to where he wants to play after next season. The price a team pays, whether it’s now or deadline, will be set by whether he’s willing to sign an extension with that team. It’s usually a good idea to sort this out in off season, so as not it becoming a distraction during.appears to me that by them having meeting today, it was to help gm know if there’s any chance he stays or should he look to move him now

  6. Striker,

    You say the Islanders will be “middle of the pack average” and say they’ll miss the playoffs? Middle of the pack puts them 6th or 7th.

    Must be another one of those horrid computer glitches that seemingly only happen to you that you claim every time youre wrong or make some sort of nonsensical statement.

    • Middle of the pack for me is 7 thru 12. The difference in points between 7th & 12th in the east could be as little as 6 to 8 points in the standings from 7th to 12th.

      There are 16 teams in the east that would make the median average 8 or 9. 9 is 50% greater than 6. Which math formula are you using? It doesn’t appear to be imperial, standard or metric. Are you using some form of geometry or trigonometry to get 6 or 7 as the middle of the pack in a 16 team conference.

      NYI isn’t just going to be bad as they lost Tavares. He can’t be replaced but nYI still has a decent average team. Maybe a little bit better than average depending upon how the youth develops & new players contribute.

      • I’m confused. Half of 16 is 8. Wouldn’t middle of the pack then be 7-9, or 6-10? 5-11? They finished 11 th this season. If adding Tavares makes Toronto a cup contender, isn’t safe to assume the loss will hurt Isles this year? What about losing DeHaan?

      • Funny

  7. Poile did a nice job today locking up Saros (3 yrs) and Hartman on very affordable deals. I was a bit surprised that Hartman signed for .875, seems like a ‘show me’ contract.

  8. I think we all agree that Panarin is a “big move” kind of player. So, let’s examine the “big move” kinds of players Jarmo has acquired since being made GM.
    1) Gaborik
    2) Jeff Carter
    3) Horton
    4) Saad
    5) Panarin

    The common thread in all of these is that, on paper, each would improve the Jackets. Now, other than Saad, Jarmo has never sent out a “big move” player and the return was Panarin. Still, from these moves, we can reasonably deduce that, when making a move involving a name player, Jarmo only pulls the trigger when that player (on paper) should improve the Jackets. (Yes, Gaborik, Carter and Horton didn’t work out. But I could argue that acquiring Gaborik was the single most important trade in Jackets’ history in that it told players the “new regime” was committed to winning, it told other GMs that the Jackets weren’t a dumping ground for questionable – or worse – players and Gaborik waiving his NTC signaled other players that the Jackets can be a destination.) So, from this, we can deduce that Jarmo is going to be looking for, at minimum, someone who can help the Jackets right now and, probably, prospects &/or picks that might help down the road. Add in that Jarmo is very reluctant to trade within his own division and conference, and it seems likely that Jarmo will be most likely to trade for a scoring winger or a strong, possibly offensive, 2nd pairing defenseman plus other assets from a Western Conference team.

  9. Would Bob Murray dare to trade Rickard Rakell to get Panarin? Rakell is a hell of a player and the Ducks know exactly what they will get from him. Still, player for player, if Panarin agrees to terms before being traded, is that not close?

    Rakell could even slot back into the centre position, he was not always a winger.

    • An interesting option, if Murray would consider it. I know that Torts and Jarmo prefer forwards who can play multiple positions (See: Foligno, Dubinsky, Jenner) and Rakell’s numbers are fairly close to Panarin’s. Maybe toss in a midling prospect and there’s a decent chance Jarmo would go for it. The hang up, besides whether or not Murray would go for it, would be whether Panarin would be willing to sign an extension with Anaheim.

  10. New Jersey could offer up Marcus Johansson, a decent prospect (Mcleod, Quennville, Boqvist, Bratt) to name a few and a 1st round pick

  11. Trade Panafon to Ottawa for a prospect and a first. Guaranteed high pick, his numbers will suffer as will his value as a UFA. A little anyway. Lol