With all the Artemi Panarin rumors swirling around, something that’s come up is the Blue Jackets don’t want to get “John Tavares'd” like the Islanders did. Basically you don’t want to hold onto the player and lose him for nothing as a free agent.
Regardless of how the situation plays out with Panarin, these situations are not the same. First of all, Tavares was drafted by the Islanders and spent nine years in Long Island. Panarin was not drafted by the Blue Jackets (or at all) and has only spent a season in Columbus. There isn’t the same sense of loyalty to the organization and to the player that there was with New York and Tavares. Tavares had also already negotiated a contract extension once to stay with the Islanders so it wasn’t out of the question that he would again. With Panarin he’s made it very clear he doesn’t want to talk at this time.
The other big difference between these two situations is the Blue Jackets are actively trying to build a team around Panarin. They went out in free agency and added Riley Nash and Anthony Duclair, two moves that weren’t flashy but were excellent additions to the team. They have also been connected to big names on trade market including Erik Karlsson.
The Islanders did very little to surround Tavares with a winning team. Before the draft, they traded for Jordan Eberle, a definite go for it move. They then, however, followed that up by trading Travis Hamonic away for picks. On July 1st, they stayed quiet only signing minor league players. They remained quiet all summer not making any serious upgrades to their roster, despite having two valuable trade chips in first round picks.
Once the season started, it was clear the Islanders didn’t have enough to compete in the Metro. They could score, but they couldn’t keep pucks out of their net. Rather than add during the season or at the deadline, they stayed pat and missed the playoffs.
The Jackets are doing what they can to improve around Panarin. If they aren’t competitive, they will absolutely trade Panarin away at the deadline. They have already looked into trading him this summer.
If the Jackets keep Panarin and do end of losing him as a free agent, it won’t be for nothing. Yes, they won’t be getting assets for Panarin but getting an additional 20 regular season games and potential playoff games, has value. The term “own rental” gets used too much, but in this situation, it fits. The Jackets if they decide to keep Panarin past the deadline are essentially renting him for a playoff run. Much like they did with Thomas Vanek, Ian Cole, and Mark Letestu, you bring them in for the stretch drive and then just let them walk.
The situations are similar but far from the same. John Tavares was the face of the Islanders ever since they selected him first overall in 2009. Panarin while an outstanding player has not been in Columbus long enough to have that same attachment and commitment to the team/city.
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