By James Maloney
Arguably the biggest UFA this upcoming offseason is Artemi Panarin. After posting 77 points in his rookie season, he followed up with a 74 point season before getting traded to Columbus in exchange for Brandon Saad. With a lot of people believing his success was due to his teammates in Chicago he had to prove that he could take the reigns and show how elite his talent really is. He did just that. Posting an 83 point campaign in his first season in Columbus he proved his doubters wrong and then some. He is off to a great start with 22 points in 20 games and he is holding all the cards when it comes to his negotiations. I’m sure there will be many suitors fighting for his services. Reportedly asking for a contract in the range of $10M-$11M a year there are only a few teams that, without making some trades to clear cap space, that can afford that type of deal right now. My fandom wants him to choose the New York Rangers. But when I think about it, there is a clear top choice.
My personal favorite is:
Currently this year they have $11.4M in cap space and a whopping $33.5M for next season. With the exception of Mikko Rantanen, who will get paid this offseason too, the core in Colorado is locked up already. With the real possibility of making a very deep playoff run this season and having a chance of a top 5 pick in the draft, thanks to Ottawa’s brilliant trade, this team is looking to be set up to be a top team for a while. Imagine a top line of Panarin-MacKinnon-Rantanen and a 2nd line with Landeskog and Jack Hughes wreaking havoc on the league.
A young team..full of studs..only getting better, why wouldn’t Panarin be interested in going to Colorado??