Listen, everyone and their mother was convinced up until just a few seconds ago that there was absolutely no way that the Columbus Blue Jackets would manage to retain star forward Artemi Panarin, but that may have just changed drastically. According to two different sources it now appears that the Columbus Blue Jackets have made a blockbuster contract offer to Panarin at the very last minute, roughly 1 hour before July 1st.
First it was Columbus Blue Jackets insider Aaron Portzline that reported a major offer had been presented to Panarin, but it was TSN National Hockey League insider Pierre LeBrun who truly dropped the bombshell when he revealed the details of that rumored contract offer. According to LeBrun his sources have informed him that the Jackets have offered Panarin a staggering $12 million per season, over the course of an 8 year contract term, to remain with the Blue Jackets for the foreseeable future. That would of course make Panarin among the highest paid players in the entire National Hockey League, and it also sends a message to the fans in Columbus that the organization did everything within their power to keep the player.
Panarin probably is not worth $12 million per season but I can hardly fault the Blue Jackets for overpaying here if it means they get to keep arguably their very best player. The Blue Jackets are set to lose Matt Duchene, Ryan Dzingel, and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky to free agency this summer and if Panarin were to leave on top of that it would truly gut the franchise. It's hard to imagine how the Blue Jackets would be competitive next season after losing so much talent on their roster, and it seems obvious based on this offer that the team knows it as well.
Do you think this is a smart move bu the Blue Jackets organization? Is Panarin worth the overpay at $12 million against the cap per season? Would you simply let him walk as a free agent? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the section below, something tells me we wont have to wait much longer to find out how this one will play out.