NHL Rumor Mill – July 9, 2018
Latest on Artemi Panarin, Milan Lucic and Patrick Maroon in your NHL Rumor Mill.
COULD PANARIN BE ON THE MOVE THIS SUMMER?
THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline interviewed player agent Dan Milstein regarding his client, winger Artemi Panarin. Milstein confirmed Panarin informed the Columbus Blue Jackets prior to the recent 2018 NHL Draft regarding his reluctance to discuss a contract extension “at this time”. While his client “loves the team, he loves the coach” and has no issue over how they’re treating him, but he’s unsure if he wants to commit to eight seasons in Columbus. If it was a two-year deal, Milstein said, it would’ve been done by now. “But it isn’t a two-year deal. It’s gonna have to be an extended, seven- or eight-year deal put in place.”
Milstein also confirmed the Blue Jackets have been entertaining trade offers for Panarin, though there’s nothing imminent. He said Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen has not asked if his client wants to speak with rival clubs nor is the Panarin camp asking to talk to other teams. Given his client’s current position, Milstein doesn’t fault the Jackets for considering trade options.
Portzline’s colleague Tom Reed believes the Jackets should spend the summer finding a suitable trade destination for the best possible return, even it the centerpiece is a high-end prospect and a top-six forward. He feels Panarin, who’s eligible next summer to become a unrestricted free agents, sees his future elsewhere.
Reed also acknowledged the Jackets could hang onto the winger until the Feb. 25 trade deadline to improve his trade value, though that move won’t sit well with Blue Jackets fans if Panarin is dealt in-season when the club is jockeying for playoff position. There’s also the risk he suffers a potentially season-ending injury. He recommends shopping Panarin to the Florida Panthers (“rumored to be a desirable location”) for prospect center Henrik Borgstrom as part of the return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Recent speculation has the Jackets listening to trade offers for Panarin but not receiving anything yet to their liking. They’re believed to be seeking a return that helps them now and in the future, hence Reed’s call for a return of a top prospect and a top-six forward. So far, interested teams are reportedly offering draft picks and prospects.
Some of the clubs with interest in Panarin could also be among those attempting to acquire Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson. If the Jackets are attempting to move the winger, they could be forced to wait until the Karlsson situation is sorted out.
LATEST LUCIC SPECULATION
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples took note of some recent speculation regarding Oilers left wing Milan Lucic. He dismissed TSN’s Frank Seravalli’s recent contention that Lucic’s situation with the Oilers is “untenable” and comparable to that of Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson. Seravalli noted there were reports Lucic was open to being dealt, but the winger’s agent, Gerry Johansson, denied that Lucic sought a trade or that Oilers management approached him about waiving his no-movement clause.
Staple also took note of some trade suggestions by Boston-based sports columnists Jimmy Murphy and Joe Haggerty, but also took note of Johansson’s comments indicating he expects his client will be returning with the Oilers this fall.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lucic trade chatter died away around the NHL Draft weekend (June 22-23). While anything can change over the course of the summer, it appears likely that Lucic will still be an Oiler when the curtain rises on the 2018-19 campaign.
MAROON JOINING THE BLUES?
THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford yesterday reported a source said unrestricted free agent winger and St. Louis native Patrick Maroon is expected to sign with the Blues soon. “Terms of the deal aren’t yet known and may not even be finalized yet,” wrote Rutherford. He followed up by saying Maroon’s agent confirmed the Blues remain “a strong option” but there are “other teams still in the mix”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maroon is the best player remaining in this summer’s UFA market. By the sound of things, he won’t be available for much longer.