Aaron Portzline of The Athletic reports the Columbus Blue Jackets have received no shortage of trade offers for Artemi Panarin, but the team is not yet interested in giving up on signing the star winger.
Panarin informed the Blue Jackets last week he wasn’t interested in negotiating a long-term deal with the club at this time. A media report surfaced over the weekend that Panarin would be open to signing in Los Angeles, New York or Florida, but Panarin's agent, Daniel Milstein, told The Athletic his client has made no such list.
Portzline reports Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen must balance trying to convince Panarin to sign with the club with not holding him too long and risk losing his value towards the trade deadline. He adds Kekalainen is only willing to move the Russian in a trade that benefits the Blue Jackets immediately. Kekalainen is looking for at one established NHLer in any trade and won't accept a trade strictly for prospects and picks this summer.
The Blue Jackets acquired Panarin last summer from the Chicago Blackhawks for winger Brandon Saad. He scored 27 goals and posted a career-high 82 points in his first season with Columbus, leading the team in nearly every offensive category.
Kekalainen released a statement when news broke last week that Panarin was unwilling to negotiate an extension, saying he still hoped to re-sign his top forward.
“Artemi is an elite National Hockey League player,” Kekalainen said. “Our position has been that we want him to be a Blue Jacket for many years and that has not changed.
“He has one more year left on his contract, so there is plenty of time to work toward that end. Should anything change, we will address it at that time and any decision we make will be in the best interest of our club.”
A two-time 30-goal scorer, Panarin is expected to be paid among the NHL's elite on his next contract. He carries a $6 million cap hit for next season.