On Tuesday, Elliotte Friendman broke news that Columbus Blue Jackets star Forward, Artemi Panarin is not ready to sign an extension with his current club. As this stands, Blues fans have begun foaming at the mouth at the potential of uniting current Blues star and longtime friend, Vladimir Tarasenko and Panarin at long last. When Tarasenko made his way to the United States and NHL, he lobbied for the Blues to go after Panarin, before he would ultimately sign with their Central division rival, Chicago Blackhawks.
Star players such as Panarin do not come available very often, let alone shopped openly by general managers. Before becoming a cap casualty in the Hawks organization, Panarin played for two seasons, posting 151 points in 162 games. He currently sits at a career 243 games played, while amassing 233 points. Panarin is the definition of a game changer and the scoring threat that the Blues desperately need.
As it stands, the Blues currently sport $12,917,345 in cap space for the upcoming 2018-19 season. Looking ahead, St. Louis does not have any of their big fish to resign until the 2020-21 season when players Brayden Schenn and Alex Pietrangelo will be needing new contracts. General Manager Doug Armstrong would do well to make an aggressive push to acquire the Russian forward. Panarin managed 82 points in 81 games in his first season with Columbus and would certainly be the type of player that Armstrong would need to offer a package of a 1st round pick, one of the “Big Four” in Kyrou/Kostin/Thomas/Thompson, and another established roster player.
Columbus Blue Jackets General Manager, Jarmo Kekalainen will certainly have his hands full needing to resign multiple key players in their organization in the next two years. This offseason Oliver Bjorkstrand, Boone Jenner, Ryan Murray are set to hit an RFA status. Next year, along with Panarin, Columbus will look to resign RFA defenseman, Zach Werenski and star goaltender, Sergei Bobrovsky. If Armstrong could come to a mutual trade agreement, he could look to take a little stress off of Jarmo’s plate.