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. But, yesterday reports starting to surface that maybe, POSSIBLY, Panarin had had a change of heart and was considering opening negotiations with the Blue Jackets.
First, Aaron Portzline of The Athetlic reported that Panarin met with his agent this past weekend to discuss the possibility of opening contract negotiations with Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekkalainen.
Meanwhile Kekkalainen declined to comment on the developments, waiting instead for his chance to speak directly with Panarin and his representation.
Well… bad news, Jarmo. It seems Panarin and agent Dan Milstein are unwilling to negotiate until the offseason. Panarin, via 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. Maybe Kekkalainen can turn his focus to goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky now and lure him into staying in Columbus? To be honest, we’re not sure what the right strategy is… gamble on both guys re-signing or trade them now for future assets? Tough pill to swallow either way…