The Columbus Blue Jackets have been put in a very difficult situation, as Artemi Panarin has reportedly confirmed he will test free agency after the season.
It comes as little of a surprise to Columbus Blue Jackets fans that Artemi Panarin has said he will test free agency once the season comes to an end according to Brian Hedger of the Columbus Dispatch.
In the midst of an abundance of quotes from an interview with Panarin, Hedger dropped the following tweet which confirmed every Blue Jackets fan’s greatest worries.
The confirmation that he wants to test free agency makes things in someways much easier for Jarmo Kekalainen, but in other ways it makes things much more difficult. Any trade for Panarin will now certainly be a rental rather than a trade with the team receiving him hoping to extend him. This makes a trade with a team like Florida much more unlikely, as they’re not a team that should realistically be making trades for rentals.
It’s still possible that Kekalainen decides to keep Panarin and use him as an internal rental, however the Columbus Blue Jackets don’t seem like a team who’s ready to make a long Stanley Cup run. At best, they seem more like a second or third round exit team at this point, especially with the recent struggles.
Regardless if it’s as a buyer or seller at this year’s trade deadline, this announcement essentially confirms that the Columbus Blue Jackets will be making some major moves. The question remains however, whether or not it’ll be moves to go for a full Stanley Cup run or if it’ll be moves that help the team in the upcoming seasons.
A majority of the trades will be based around Artemi Panarin, even if it’s an indirect forced Cup run that results in Kekalainen trading for an abundance of rentals to help get a push while he’s here.