For weeks now NHL analysts have been working under the assumption that pending unrestricted free agents Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky would be signing new contracts as a “package deal” this offseason. After all, the best friends share an agent and have been linked to the Florida Panthers in countless rumor reports. But, while Bobrovsky still seems to be in the Panthers’ sights, don’t count on Panarin inking with the team so easily reports NHL insider Elliotte Friedman.
In his latest 31 Thoughts podcast with co-host Jeff Marek, Friedman dismissed the idea that Panarin and Bobrovsky will sign together in Florida and instead offered up his opinion that Panarin will seek a new deal elsewhere. When asked about Bobrovsky and Panarin signing together in Florida as a pair, Friedman replied with:
“I don’t know if that’s happening anymore. I don’t know. I have heard… I was one of the guys who first threw that out there so I know why it’s out there because I had heard at that time that that could happen. I’m not convinced that Florida is Panarin’s preferred destination. It might be LA but I don’t know how they can do it and I think the Rangers are way up there for him too and I think the Rangers really want him. So for me, I’m going with them (Rangers) until proven otherwise.”
Now, obviously we’ve heard Panarin linked to the New York Rangers in rumor reports before, just as we’ve heard the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks, as well. However, when Panarin elected to change his representation early in 2019 the belief was that he and Goalie Bob were planning to leave the Blue Jackets as a package deal. Is that pact off the table? Time will tell.