By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
From Friedman’s most recent 31 Thoughts column:
8. I think the teams with the best chances at signing Panarin long-term are Florida, Los Angeles, the Islanders and the Rangers. The only one that makes sense to take a shot at him for rental purposes is the Islanders. Boston hovers as a rental option, too. If the Islanders don’t get their top choices, GM Lou Lamoriello could consider old acquaintance Ilya Kovalchuk. Remember, the winger has control over his destination.
The 27-year-old Panarin has been nothing short of fantastic since breaking on the NHL scene in 2015, with 112 goals and 300 points in 299 NHL contests, making him the league’s eighth-most productive skater over that four-year run. Panarin has been especially excellent for the Jackets this season, too, with a team-leading 67 points through 56 games.
But Panarin may not be long for a long-term future in Boston, as multiple sources have confirmed to 98.5 The Sports Hub that the Russian winger could eye a move to a bigger market like New York or Los Angeles as a free agent this summer (something Friedman alluded to when handicapping the favorites for a summertime Panarin deal).
That, of course, should limit the return the Jackets get on Panarin. But this is deadline season, and the Blue Jackets are currently in a playoff position, meaning the asking price will and should be through the roof given the talent at play.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. He has also been a voting member of the Boston Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association since 2013. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.