Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 01/02/19 at 11:50 AM ET
from Jared Clinton of The Hockey News,
On one hand, Panarin could remain without a contract come the deadline and the Blue Jackets could choose to keep him in the fold. He is, after all, their best chance at producing the offense necessary to make a deep playoff run and one-third of the team’s top line. With Panarin, Columbus can make noise. Without him, their Stanley Cup odds likely decline by a not-insignificant percentage. Keeping him, however, is a gamble. Doing so would be to risk losing him for nothing, save maybe a low-round pick if he’s traded following the post-season but ahead of July 1, and recouping not even a single asset for the team’s most talented offensive forward should he feel there are greener pastures and sign as a free agent elsewhere next summer.
The only way for the Blue Jackets to guarantee they avoid such a scenario with an unsigned Panarin, though, would be to either throw enough money at him that he’s persuaded to stay in Columbus or, as unfathomable as it seems, move him at or ahead of the trade deadline in order to net a worthwhile return. Contenders, especially top contenders looking for scoring, would undoubtedly relish the opportunity to land a player such as Panarin, paying a high price to do so. That could mean high picks, talented prospects and possibly even mid-range roster players come back Columbus’ way as a return. It would give the Blue Jackets tangible payment for Panarin instead of the more nebulous promise of spending room that can be exercised to add talent in his stead.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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