I can’t believe this even needs to be said. The Blue Jackets should not trade Artemi Panarin, but according to Elliotte Friedman Panarin is not ready to discuss a contract extension and the Jackets are “testing the market.”
This doesn’t seem to be a money issue as it’s Panarin side who seems unwilling to negotiate. I’m sure the Jackets would be prepared with a blank cheque if/when the time comes.
The Jackets are in a fine position. When the acquired Panarin last off-season they had to have known this was a possibility. With Panarin, Sergei Bobrovksy and Zach Werenski all needing new deals in two years the window was open and the team was basically saying we are all in. They had a great season last year and were unfortunately taken down in round one by the eventual Cup Winners. It’s time to double down.
Panarin is good, like really good.
The team should be doing everything they can to surround him with more talent. Personally given this information, I would go out and do everything possible to build a super team around Panarin. Make a big offer on a John Tavares or John Carlson; see if you can swing a trade for Erik Karlsson, or a Max Pacioretty. Put as much talent together as you can and go out and try to win the damn thing.
The problem with trading a player like Panarin is, once you do you no longer have Artemi Panarin. There are maybe 10-15 players in the league as good as he is, and it is highly unlikely you are getting one them as a return. Any deal for Panarin is going to include lesser players, and even if you get a team’s top prospect odds are highly against that player ever reaching a ceiling as high as this. Take Vitali Abramov, he’s a tremendous prospect but he is likely never going to reach the heights Panarin has, and that is the type of prospect that would headline this type of trade.
The fact that Panarin is only under contract for one more season takes away from his value. Unless the team trading for him is able to work out an extension you are not going to be able to get proper value for him. It’s that reason why Vegas doesn’t want to give up Cody Glass in a potential Karlsson trade, the uncertainty of his future makes him far less valuable on the trade market.
The argument for a trade is you don’t want to lose the player for nothing, which is a valid point. It’s bad asset management to let players walk, when you have a chance to get pieces for them. But if the Jackets were able to put a Cup contending team together it wouldn’t all be for nothing. You would have Artemi Panarin for a whole season, which is incredibly valuable. Washington is probably very happy they held onto Carlsson, ditto Vegas with James Neal and David Perron.
You want to avoid an Islanders situation where you keep your superstar and miss the playoffs. The Islanders potentially could lose Tavares for nothing as they did little to make themselves better and push to be an impact team in the playoffs. The Jackets need to avoid that. If they keep Panarin and the deadline rolls around and they do not look like a serious contender, then absolutely you trade him and get some assets. However, right now this team is in the right spot to contend.
If you trade him now might as well start rebuilding. Explore trading Bobrovsky as well. Without Panarin this team is not good enough upfront to make a deep run. They have some nice players still but lack that impact/game breaking talent Panarin has. You would have to wait until players like Abramov, Alexandre Texier, and whomever you get back in a Panarin trade to be ready before the team could seriously consider contending again. That might take two to three years before those prospects are impact NHL players.
At this time trading Panain does not make sense. Even if he doesn’t want to negotiate a contract, the Blue Jackets are much better off with him on their team than not. The team’s window is open, they should be looking to add, not sell.
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