NHL Rumor Mill – July 25, 2018
A look at some potential destinations for Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Artemi Panarin in today’s NHL rumor mill.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jared Clinton recently listed the Florida Panthers, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues as five possible destination for left wing Artemi Panarin, who is reportedly reluctant to re-sign a contract extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Panarin has told management he doesn’t want to talk contract after Sept. 13, when the Jackets open training camp. If an agreement on a new deal isn’t reached by then, the Jackets could be forced to explore the trade market.
Clinton believes the Panthers can afford to re-sign Panarin, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He’d also be a good fit with a roster that also includes Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau and Vincent Trocheck.
While the Rangers are rebuilding, Clinton feels they can’t pass up an opportunity to land a scorer like Panarin, who could line up alongside center Mika Zibanejad or perhaps Vladislav Namestnikov. The Rangers can also afford to re-sign him.
Panarin might also be a good fit alongside young Islanders center Mathew Barzal and could replace the offense they lost when John Tavares signed with Toronto earlier this month. Like the Panthers and Rangers, they would have the cap room to re-sign him.
If the Jackets don’t want to send Panarin to a division or conference rival, the Sharks could be a good destination. They also have the cap space to retain him and have their core (apart from Joe Pavelski) signed for the next four seasons, though Clinton points out they already loaded up by acquiring and re-signing Evander Kane earlier this year.
While the Blues seem a long shot, Clinton points out that Panarin is good friends with Vladimir Tarasenko, who pushed for the Blues to sign his buddy before he came over to the NHL with the Chicago Blackhawks. That move, however, would require shuffling some salary to make it work.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how Panarin’s situation shakes out. His agent claims the Jackets have already received some trade offers but none of them contain a good young player who can immediately help them.
Clinton noted the Panthers were on the winger’s once-reported list of preferred trade destinations but it’s uncertain if they’re still on it. Assuming they are, they certainly have the depth in young talent to entice the Jackets, though such a move will mean moving a salaried player to make room for Panarin’s $6-million cap hit for 2018-19. Cap Friendly indicates the Panthers have less than $3 million in projected cap space. Forward Nick Bjugstad was frequently mentioned as a trade candidate but GM Dale Tallon insists he’s not going anywhere.
The New York Post’s Larry Brooks believes the Rangers would be “all in” if Panarin hits the open market next summer. It stands to reason they could be very interested if the winger hits the trade block. With over $19 million in projected cap space, they can easily afford Panarin’s cap hit for ’18-’19 and for a new long-term contract extension. The Jackets could ask for winger Pavel Buchnevich packaged with picks and prospects.
Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post believes Panarin should be at the top of Isles GM Lou Lamoriello’s wish list. Bringing him in would certainly help to offset the loss of Tavares’ offense and he could be a dream fit with young Barzal. They carry a projected $10.5 million for the upcoming season and over $32 million for 2019-20. Perhaps winger Anthony Beauvillier could be packaged as part of the return.
There’s speculation Panarin might prefer playing in a big market like Los Angeles, but the Kings and Anaheim Ducks lack the cap space to take on Panarin’s salary this season or to re-sign him. The Sharks aren’t in the LA-area but San Jose is definitely an attractive destination for NHL players. The Sharks were in the bidding for Tavares and there’s speculation they were also looking at Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson. With over $4 million in projected cap space, the Sharks would have to shed salary to take on Panarin and retaining him long-term could make it difficult to re-sign Pavelski, who’s also a UFA next summer. Young winger Timo Meier might have to be part of the deal.
Despite Panarin’s friendship with Tarasenko it’s doubtful the Blues can land him. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeff Gordon believes Panarin’s made it clear he’s not interested in committing long-term to a Midwestern market.