Looking at the Columbus Blue Jackets: Re-Signing Artemi Panarin

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 27: Artemi Panarin #9 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates against the Buffalo Sabres on October 27, 2018 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 27: Artemi Panarin #9 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates against the Buffalo Sabres on October 27, 2018 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The Columbus Blue Jackets winger is a pending unrestricted free agent.

Artemi Panarin has dominated Columbus Blue Jackets headlines since being acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks prior to last season. Now more than ever as a result of his pending unrestricted free agency after the season.

With his success to this point this season, he seems to thoroughly be enjoying himself out on the ice and the team is winning games. This is the most important thing the Blue Jackets can do to try to convince Panarin that Columbus is where he wants to be going forward.

Tuesday morning, Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic broke some major news regarding Panarin’s current, and future, asking price on Twitter.

With this asking price, the Columbus Blue Jackets would be guaranteed to say goodbye to Sergei Bobrovsky is Panarin is re-signed. Signing Zach Werenski, Anthony Duclair, Ryan Murray and Joonas Korpisalo would be difficult, but possible at fair prices for each of them.

Using Capfriendly.com to check the cap details for each potential signing and making sure the team stays under the salary cap, I was able to set up an idealized version of the 2019-2020 Columbus Blue Jackets. Artemi Panarin’s cap hit for this experiment is $10.5M over 8 seasons.

Duclair is having a phenomenal season with the Blue Jackets, but his past makes it difficult to justify giving him big money and long term. As a result, expect him to get around two years at between $2-3M. For the sake of this investigation, we’ll give him $2.5M over two years to put it right in the middle.

Ryan Murray is also having a breakout season, if he can stay healthy he’s one of the best defensemen on the team. As a result, he’ll want a pay increase from his $2.825M cap hit. It wouldn’t be a major increase but he’ll likely end up around $4M over three seasons.

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Joonas Korpisalo should be happy with roughly $2M over a short term, likely two years. He hasn’t exactly stolen the show this season and as a result, he shouldn’t be paid like a starter despite that likely being his role to start next season.

The biggest question mark of the restricted free agent group would be Zach Werenski. Drew Doughty‘s extension of $11M a season with the Los Angeles Kings  will change the market for defensemen going forward, however the Blue Jackets will try to counter Werenski’s camp with John Carlson‘s deal in Washington.

Werenski isn’t at Carlson’s level and as a result, he shouldn’t be paid as much as he was. Expect Werenski to land around $6M over a medium term deal, or potentially short term if he wants a bridge deal.

This leaves Markus Hannikainen, Lukas Sedlak, Sonny Milano and a bunch of AHL players unsigned, with just over $2M in cap space remaining. Not to mention, Josh Anderson and Pierre-Luc Dubois will be restricted free agents at the end of the season. With almost no cap space to sign them, the Blue Jackets will have to make a move with a fairly big contract. Likely Nick Foligno, Boone Jenner, David Savard or potentially Brandon Dubinsky would be moved if they can find a taker.

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Jarmo Kekalainen and company would have a lot of work to do to make this work, however he could certainly do it. If the team continues to succeed, and Artemi Panarin doesn’t get frustrated due to a slump or any other type of issue that could arise then there’s a possibility he stays despite popular opinion.