"Our Priority Is To Get (Artemi Panarin) Signed," Says Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen

By Rob Mixer on June 22, 2018 at 12:40 pm
Columbus Blue Jackets forward Artemi Panarin looks on during play against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena.
James Guillory – USA TODAY Sports
1 Comment

"It wasn't a pleasant day. I can say that."

Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen has had quite the week. On Monday, he was informed by Dan Milstein, agent for Artemi Panarin, that the player isn't ready to sign a long-term contract extension with the team.

The Blue Jackets were prepared to offer an eight-year deal, Kekalainen said, reportedly for big-time money, but so it goes. For now.

"If somebody throws something at us that will make our team better in the long run and makes sense for the organization, we have to listen and look at it," Kekalainen said. "Our priority is to get him signed and do everything we can to persuade him to stay in Columbus for the long term."

Kekalainen's full availability is here, via the team:

Elliotte Friedman was first to report that the Blue Jackets were engaged in trade talks – "testing the market" was the verbiage – after Panarin dropped the bad news on them. Kekalainen said the main difference between potentially trading a player now opposed to the trade deadline is the type of return (future assets are mostly deadline pieces).

All things considered, is it difficult to even consider trading Panarin? Kekalainen delivered a great line.

"It's my job. We have to take care of the Columbus Blue Jackets and the future of the franchise," he said. "That's what we're hired to do. We have to take the emotion out of it."

Kekalainen said the Blue Jackets have made it clear that they want Panarin and will do whatever it takes to convince him to stick around.

"We'll keep trying until it's too late – if it is too late – (but) hopefully not," he said.

Follow 1st Ohio BatteryFacebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube

1 Comment
View 1 Comments