NHL Rumor Mill – September 14, 2018
Updates on the Blue Jackets, Islanders and Canucks in your NHL rumor mill.
LATEST ON PANARIN AND BOBROVSKY
THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports the Sept. 13 deadline winger Artemi Panarin gave the Columbus Blue Jackets this summer to get all contract business settled may have been made with a trade in mind. “The hope of the deadline was that the Blue Jackets would find a trade partner with one of the clubs Panarin wishes to play for, then grant that club permission to negotiate with Panarin’s agent, Dan Milstein, on a long-term deal,” writes Portzline.
Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen, however, was dismissive. “There’s no such deadline in my book,” Kekalainen said at the media day Wednesday in Nationwide Arena. “It’s July 1, 2019.” That’s the date when Panarin becomes an unrestricted free agent. All indications are Kekalainen intends to carry Panarin into this season. He insists he has a “great relationship” with Panarin and his agent.
Portzline also reports the Blue Jackets had some form of contract extension talks this summer with pending UFA goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. However, they’re nowhere close to an agreement. Bobrovsky shed little light on his future with the club.
“After last season, I told the situation to the management of the Blue Jackets, so they know everything,” Bobrovsky said. “They know my plans for the season. They know my plans for the future. They know everything….They know exactly what we’re going to do.” Asked if this season could be his last in Columbus, he replied, “We’ll see.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kekalainen could attempt to trade one or both players but I don’t think he’s reached that point yet. For now, he will likely keep trying to re-sign them.
The Jackets got some offers for Panarin earlier this summer but the proposals contained draft picks and prospects, not a player who can help them right away. As for Bobrovsky, there’s no one in their system right now who could step up and replace him. Trading him now would hamstring their playoff hopes before the season even begins.
Much will depend upon the Jackets’ performance this season. If they’re playoff contenders I doubt Bobrovsky or Panarin are going anywhere by the Feb. 25 trade deadline, even at the risk of losing them to free agency in July. If they’re out of the postseason chase by then, I expect Kekalainen will be entertaining trade offers.
LATEST ON LEE AND EBERLE
NEWSDAY: Andrew Gross reports New York Islanders forwards Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle are entering the final season of their respective contracts but their outcome doesn’t have to be the same as former teammate John Tavares, who departed for Toronto via free agency in July. The duo are eligible for unrestricted free agent status next July.
“You know it’s there but, at the same time, you just want to bear down and treat it like any other year,” Eberle said. “I love playing here. I love the organization. I love the fans and I want to get off to a good start and help the team win some games. That’s my mindset.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Their futures with the Islanders depend upon their performances this season and that of the team. If both play well, GM Lou Lamoriello will attempt to re-sign them. If not, he’ll peddle them at the trade deadline.
UPDATE ON EDLER
THE ATHLETIC: Jason Brough reports Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alex Edler is willing to sign a contract extension.
“If something can be worked out, I would love to stay here. Even though we’ve had some tough years, this is kind of an exciting thing to go through. There’s change and a lot of young guys are coming in. You see how they are developing. There’s nothing now, but we’ll see. We’ll see what happens. All I can do is play good hockey.”
Edler declined to say if he’d waive his no-movement clause if asked by management to do so. If that scenario were to happen, Brough suggests the Winnipeg Jets could be a good destination as the left side of their blueline is a question mark.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nothing will happen with Edler for now. Depending on his performance and that of the Canucks, I daresay we’ll see his name surface in the rumor mill once the calendar flips to February.