As seen in the photo, Artemi Panarin has told the Columbus Blue Jackets that he will be hitting the free agent marketing next summer, and that Blue Jackets General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen has no intentions on trading Panarin.
First off, if a player says he wants to hit the open market that almost guarantees that he will not be resigning with the team. Panarin was photographed in Tampa Bay this summer with Kucherov and Vasilevsky playing Volleyball and with a quote that they are attempting to convince him to play in Tampa Bay. Is this where Panarin is intending in signing next off season? Can you imagine a top line of Panarin - Stamkos - Kucherov? Yikes.
So why would Kekalainen refuse to trade him? Does he think this is the year that Columbus is going all the way? If so then I guess risking the loss of Panarin is worth it, and people would need to think of him as nothing but a “rental” this season. Personally i dont feel like this year is the year of the Blue Jackets, yes they have a very young talented team, but I just dont think they have the calibre level to compete with Tampa Bay.
We saw this past offseason how the Islanders waited for Tavares to make up his mind, and lost him for absolutely nothing, and you would think that this would have taught Kekalainen that something is better than nothing. Panarin has been in the NHL for 3 seasons now, 2 with Chicago and 1 with Columbus, and in this time he has averaged 78 points per season, and is coming off a career high in points with 82 which in this days game is really damn good. Tarasenko told his General Manager years ago before he came to the NHL that Panarin was going to be a great addition for the team and I bet he is kicking himself now that he did not listen.
Trading Panarin even as a rental would bring back quite a bit of value, which would certainly help fill the hole in the lineup he will leave.
Don’t make the same mistake Garth Snow did Kekalainen, trade Panarin.