Artemi Panarin will have his fair share of suitors this summer.
It'll be a tall task for the Blue Jackets to resign the dynamic winger, who holds the franchise record for most points in a season.
In the 2018-19 season, Panarin had 28 goals and 59 assists for a total of 87 points. He put up 11 points in the playoffs.
Panarin may ultimately have his sights set on a bigger market and flashier city, and the fact that former Blue Jackets GM John Davidson resigned and joined the New York Rangers yesterday may have a large influence on Panarin's decision.
After seven years with the organization, Davidson left the Blue Jackets' franchise in a better place than where it started.
OFFICIAL: John Davidson has been named #NYR President.— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) May 17, 2019
The Rangers have approximately $15.6 million dollars in cap space, which is more than enough to acquire Panarin. Additionally, they're building a young, solid core that appeals to free agents, and they have the second pick in this year's NHL draft. The Rangers will most likely select Jack Hughes or Kaapo Kakko — two dynamic forwards that can make an immediate NHL impact.
Panarin is a bona-fide top-line player no matter where he goes, so playing time won't be his concern. If he goes to New York, he'd most likely play on a line with Mika Zibanejad and Pavel Buchnevich/Chris Kreider and see time on their first power play unit.
It'll be quite interesting to see how the Blue Jackets deal with their UFAs this summer in Panarin, Sergei Bobrovsky, Matt Duchene, and Ryan Dzingel. Who they sign — or don't — may be the difference between them competing for a Stanley Cup next spring or hitting the links in April.