Artemi Panarin is one of the best players in the NHL.
Though often not mentioned among McDavid, Kucherov, Matthews, Crosby, Malkin, Kane, Ovechkin, Hall, MacKinnon and Bergeron, he probably should be.
You would be hardpressed to convince me that there is a more underrated hockey player in the world not named Jake Gardiner.
Panarin is 27, a pending un-restricted free-agent, and he is set to challenge John Tavares for the title of the best UFA in NHL history.
Would he possibly consider the Coyotes?
Could the Coyotes find the money?
Yes he would consider it, because Arizona is one of the best places to play in the NHL, and if they added Panarin, they're a contender.
What the Coyotes desperately need is a franchise player, and here is one that doesn't cost anything but money.
Can they afford him?
Can they afford not to?
Raanta/Kuemper/OEL/Stepan/Hjarlmarson is a core that if you're going to win with it, it has to be now.
Unless they want to bail on Galchenyuk, Stepan and OEL, sell high on Kuemper and then continue a painfully slow rebuild, I don't see how they can pass on this opportunity.
You have to spend money to make money, and if you put Panarin on a team that has OEL as it's number-one D and arguably the best 1-2 punch in net in the NHL, then you've got something.
Schmaltz/Galchenyuk/Keller/Hayton isn't a half bad scoring lineup as long as you have the studs at the top so that everyone can play at their proper level.
Bringing in Panarin basically solves all their problems.
Obviously you don't need to tell me how unrealistic this is. But regardless, if the Coyotes aren't willing to spend some money, then they should be bailing on all their mid-twenties players and playing for the future because you can't get anywhere in this league without a franchise forward.
Artemi Panarin and his 55% Corsi and 87 points is just what the doctor ordered.