Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 02/02/19 at 06:19 PM ET
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
...if the Jackets, coached by a John Tortorella who has always preached the importance of honest self-evaluation, believe they are more likely the team that had been listing at 7-7 since Christmas (with just three victories in regulation) entering Saturday’s game against the Blues and was clear of a playoff spot by only three points than the kind of team that can run with Tampa Bay, Toronto and Washington in the Eastern Conference, then Kekalainen should trade Panarin as a high-end rental property.
Send him to the Rangers for Kevin Hayes? I’d say the Jackets would be prone to engage in serious talks on the matter, but it would be a fool’s play for the Blueshirts. If they do indeed trade No. 13, and that’s the strong probability as Feb. 25 approaches, it would be for a stockpile of future assets (hopefully not too far in the future) and not for someone who likely will be available for nothing but money when the free-agent market opens....
Any contender seeking a prospective elite winger will check in on Panarin. But the Panthers, who entered the weekend with a worse record than the Rangers, might be the one non-contender with a vested interest in obtaining Panarin and using the remainder of the season as a courtship for a long-term relationship. Sunrise is not Manhattan, but South Beach is within close enough range for Panarin to live life happily as a Puddy Tat in a no-tax state.
And the Panthers have an inventory of assets (you certainly would hope so, on their way to missing the playoffs for the 16th time in the past 18 seasons), including wingers Grigori Denisenko and Owen Tippett, who might appeal to the Jackets if the front office believes it is time to reload rather than fortify.
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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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