Due to the Columbus Blue Jackets’ strong start to the 2018-19 season, the idea of left winger Artemi Panarin hitting the trade market this winter has lost some steam despite the 27-year-old being poised for unrestricted free agency when this year finishes.
The Blue Jackets sit atop the Metropolitan Division with 26 points through 21 games while Panarin is averaging just over a point per night with five goals and 17 assists (22 points).
Heading into the year, trade rumors were swirling around the 2016 Rookie of the Year as he stated no intentions of re-signing with the Blue Jackets. However, that narrative might not entirely be true.
TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported on Monday that Panarin will be looking for a contract that pays him an average salary between $10 million-$11 million per season “whether that is in Columbus or on the open market.”
He continued on TSN’s Insider Trading:
“His agent Dan Milstein is slated to meet with him in person next month during the holiday break to go over where they are with that contract situation. They haven’t talked business since early September. We know this off-season, Panarin said he’s not ready to sign an extension with Columbus and probably was headed towards the market on July 1st. Now, has that changed? All I can tell you is this – everyone around him feels that he is a happy person. He’s scoring, the team is in first place and that is the greatest asset that the Blue Jackets have right now is to keep showing him that this a good place to be.”
The longer the Blue Jackets stay in contention, the less likely Panarin will be traded before the league’s deadline in February. Both the Islanders and Rangers were linked to a possible deal over the summer.
There were reports that even surfaced toward the end of August that Panarin wanted to join the Rangers once he hit the open market.
His meeting with Milstein in December will help formulate a game plan moving forward, but at the moment, it doesn’t seem likely that the Blue Jackets are going to part with him via trade just yet. The only way that will happen is if they suddenly tank.
Should they keep winning and make a serious run at the Cup, it might be enough to coax Panarin into staying with the Blue Jackets for the long term.