When Artemi Panarin was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets in June for former Blackhawks forward, goalie and a fifth-round draft pick, Chicago went into shock. Gone was a fan favorite who had developed fantastic chemistry with superstar forward Patrick Kane.
Panarin opened up about the trade recently in an interview with a Russian sports publication. Here's an English translation to some of the interesting quotes:
So about that trade?
"Saad is a good player. He has a contract for four years. With him, Chicago won the Stanley Cup. And I probably would still play for them with my unclear show off style. The only trouble this trade caused is a surprise. Now I have calmed down, and actually I was worried probably only for a couple of days. And now I understand that it will be even better for me. I hope in Columbus I'm gonna take more on myself."
There were another 20 players in that team. They lost with you.
"But there is such a thing as 'winner roster'. So, in general, the situation is clear. It's a pity that there are friends in Chicago, and the coach is fine fellow. I sent Joel Quenneville 'many thanks' through his friends. I treat him with great respect.
The North American press writes that the leaders of Chicago Kane and Toews influenced the trade - they wanted Saad to return.
"There are a lot of rumors now. I do not care who said what. It is possible that it was so. But if I won two Stanley Cups with Chicago for two years, then I would not be traded. And I'm the one who lost twice in the first round. And why I should to take offense at?"
Some very honest words from Panarin. The entire Blackhawks team is likely to blame for their poor playoff performances of late, but it says something about Panarin when he is taking the trade in stride like this.