If you’re a Blue Jackets fan or just a hockey fan in general, you’re well aware of the looming disaster for Columbus. Artemi Panarin (and his fellow countryman Sergei Bobrovsky) are both unrestricted free agents at the end of the 2019 season. None of the parties involved have been able to reach an agreement on an extension or new contract, to the point where Panarin and his agent cut off contract talks and informed the team that he will not consider his future until after the season.
This puts the Blue Jackets in a VERY difficult spot. They aren’t quite a cup contender as constructed, but they could get to that level with a deadline deal or two. All of that gets thrown into a blender if Panarin isn’t in the mix though. If the NHL has learned anything from last year’s Islanders-Tavares situation, its not worth letting some prima donna string you along all season and into free agency and then bail without the courtesy of letting you get anything in return. Although the Islanders are doing just fine, I’m sure they would have preferred to get a young player and a draft pick for Tavares at last year’s deadline. Now the Jackets are faced with the million dollar decision. Do they try to make a run at a cup by acquiring a few players this month, or do they see if they can get a quality return for a Panarin rental? There’s really no good answer and it’s a really shitty situation to be in.
Then today.. there was this… Continue reading