We know one thing for certain: Artemi Panarin is going to get paid.
Whether he's paid handsomely by the Columbus Blue Jackets or another NHL team remains to be seen. For now, he's a productive and dynamic member of their top line, one that's fueled them during a 5-1-2 stretch and has them leading the Metropolitan Division. On the horizon, though, is a contract set to expire and a situation yet to be resolved.
As you recall, Panarin's agent, Dan Milstein, told the Blue Jackets this summer that he's not ready to sign a long-term deal. While it sounded alarm bells at the time, Panarin has handled it well and there's a belief that the Blue Jackets aren't done trying to sell him on staying in Columbus.
TSN and The Athletic hockey insider Pierre LeBrun had this to say Tuesday morning:
Should mention that the expectation is that Panarin's camp will be seeking $10 million to $11 million a year in his next deal whether that's in Columbus or on the open market...— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) November 20, 2018
And further, from TSN's Bob McKenzie:
Assuming Panarin gets this no reason to doubt it either he would be the only other winger in the NHL besides Patrick Kane to crack the double-digit ($10M+) AAV barrier. https://t.co/1OWDzk7GyS— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) November 20, 2018
Would the Blue Jackets go this far to keep Panarin? It's tough to say, but they'd at least consider it. He would be, far and away, the highest-paid player in franchise history but he's also their most impactful.
On TSN's Insider Trading segment, which aired Monday evening, LeBrun stated that the Blue Jackets will attempt to sign Panarin before the Feb. 25 trade deadline. Whether he's warm to the idea or not will determine their course of action with the pending UFA.
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