While he is only set to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer if 2019, the Artemi Panarin sweepstakes have already begun seeing that the star forward has revealed he is not interested in re-signing with the Columbus Blue Jackets. While general manager Jarmo Kekalainen still tries his best to convince him otherwise, he still has to keep his options open and considering trading the Russian star sniper.
It is no secret that the Boston Bruins are greatly interested in landing a top forward who can skate alongside David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk on the second line or a center to bring stability to the third line. The addition of Panarin on the Bruins’ roster would be quite the upgrade.
Team insider Joe Haggerty of NBC Sports Boston however believes the price tag for Panarin will be quite steep, claiming that Bruins general manager Don Sweeney would have to give up top defenseman and a young forward in a transaction for the Blue Jackets’ star scorer. He wonders if perhaps the Bruins could sell them on Torey Krug and Danton Heinen.
Haggerty often fears that the Blue Jackets would likely ask for DeBrusk instead.
“Add into the equation the fact that Panarin is in the last year of his deal and hasn’t indicated he’ll be willing to sign an extension ahead of free agency. There is a lot of caution for Bruins GM Don Sweeney dipping his toes into those waters given the price tag and the risk involved,” Haggerty writes.
However, many Bruins fans will wonder if the risk could be worth it for the reward.
Haggerty ends his piece by stating that the Bruins could find another solution elsewhere, perhaps going after Chris Kreider of the New York Rangers. The potential trade seems to better fit Sweeney’s penchant for trading with Ranger GM Jeff Gorton and, on top of that, Kreider is a local guy who played at Boston College.
“He fits the profile given his size (6-3, 216), speed and offensive game, though injuries and inconsistency have kept him from consistently living up to his potential with the Rangers. Kreider is off to an excellent start with the rebuilding Blueshirts this season with four goals and six points in seven games,” adds Haggerty.
So, what will it be? High risk or safer route?