Since February, 2018 all signs have pointed to Russian superstar Artemi Panarin leaving the Columbus Blue Jackets for free agency in search of a HUGE payday in the 2019 offseason.
Just yesterday Panarin, via agent Dan Milstein, released a statement on Twitter just moments ago re-iterating that he’s unwilling to negotiate a new contract in-season.
Check it out:
Ouch… that hurts. Sorry, CBJ fans.
Earlier today Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen met with the media and laid out his plans for dealing with Panarin and his plans for the upcoming February 25th Trade Deadline.
Check out this quote courtesy of CBJ insider Aaron Portzline of The Athletic:
That sure doesn’t sound like a GM who’s shopping his star player. But Kekalainen will receive offers, no doubt about that… in fact, the offers have already starting pouring in. Check out this quote, again courtesy of Portzline:
“My phone has been ringing off the hook today,” Kekalainen said. “I can only answer one at a time, but I’m pretty good at returning phone calls.”
So… what’s the plan, Jarmo? Hold ‘em or fold ‘em?
“We’re going to have to weigh the decision in front of us, as far as what’s out there in the marketplace,” Kekalainen said. “The example from last year … we had offers for (pending UFAs) Jack Johnson and Matt Calvert and we decided to keep them, because we thought that’s what’s best for our team in the short-term, and the long-term benefits of trading them weren’t good enough. It’s the same way in these situations.”
It certainly sounds like, one way or another, the clock is ticking on Panarin’s time in Columbus.