Jarmo Kekalainen is hardly in an enviable spot.
His Blue Jackets team sits third in the Metropolitan Division and only four points behind the first-place New York Islanders, and are looking good in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. He also has two star players in the final years of their contracts, but today, the focus was on Artemi Panarin.
Panarin's agent, Dan Milstein, told the club Monday that they would not be negotiating a new contract before the end of the season. That means the Blue Jackets must decide whether to "self-rent" Panarin and keep him through the season, which would help their chances at a playoff run, or trade him in a deal that would (in all likelihood) be heavily focused on future assets like prospects and draft picks.
Kekalainen's media availability was lean on details – as we've come to expect from a GM that keeps his cards close to the vest – but he was honest in saying all options are on the table, including keeping Panarin through the deadline. Watch the video above for the full press conference (via the Blue Jackets).
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