Don't hold your breath waiting for an Artemi Panarin trade.
Despite the winger revealing earlier this summer he wasn't ready to negotiate an extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets, TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger reported Wednesday the team is still hoping to get him signed moving forward.
"Now I’m told that Jarmo Kekalainen, the general manager of the Blue Jackets continues to get trade calls with interest on Artemi Panarin," Dreger said on Insider Trading. "He has no interest in trading him and his principle point of interest is trying to convince him to re-sign, likewise for Sergei Bobrovsky. But it doesn’t sound like the mood has changed for Panarin that he wants a market change so this is a story we’ll continue to follow for months I’m sure."
Panarin's agent, Dan Milstein, said in July his client simply wasn't ready to commit long-term to playing in the state of Ohio. He added they informed the team of Panarin's decision as soon as possible to help Kekalainen and the Blue Jackets moving forward.
"Panarin and I … we didn’t want to do a dog-and-pony show like we’ve seen with players in the past," Milstein told the Athletic. "The way he’s treated in Columbus, I don’t think it’s possible to be treated any better anywhere else. He’s well taken care of, let’s put it that way. He didn’t want to mess with them. That’s basically the message: 'I don’t know if I want to be here for the next eight years. I haven’t decided.'
"I’ve told [Panarin] he could end up in a [different] market [via trade] for the next year if you tell [the Blue Jackets] about it now. He basically said, 'That’s okay. I just don’t want to mess with the team. If I decide not to stay, no one would ever blame me and say I played games [with them] and walked for nothing at the 11th hour. So if they can get something… [But], if they decide to keep me, they should know the risks associated with that.'
"There’s never been a disagreement or an argument. We’ve been truthful and honest. I told [Panarin] of the risk, but he said it was a good time to let the team know so that they can plan ahead. We told them before the draft."
Panarin, 26, excelled in his first season with the Blue Jackets, leading the team in both goals (27) and assists (55) after being traded from the Chicago Blackhawks a year ago.
As for Bobrovsky, the team's star goaltender, he is also entering the final year of his contract, though less is known on where he stands when it comes to an extension. Like Panarin, though, Bobrovsky said he informed management of his thought process prior to July 1.
"After last season, I told the situation to the management of the Blue Jackets, so they know everything," Bobrovsky told The Athletic last week. "They know my plans for the season. They know my plans for the future. They know everything.
"They know exactly what we're going to do."
Kekalainen told NHL.com earlier this month that he couldn't commit to either Panarin or Bobrovsky being on their roster on Oct. 4 when they open the regular season. He did, however, express optimism that he could still get both players re-signed.
"I think we have to make some decisions based on where it goes at the appropriate time," Kekalainen said. "If we can't work out a contract, then we'll have to make some decisions. I wouldn't say they're just going to stay and ride out into the sunset.
"Where we're at with our team, we have to make some decisions and we're hopeful we can get contracts done. If not, we'll have to make some decisions."