Ever since the Columbus Blue Jackets were eliminated in six games in the second round of the postseason by the Boston Bruins, all eyes have remained on the smaller market to see what star forward Artemi Panarin would do next.
The Russian superstar is expected to become the most coveted free agent on the market this summer and while he has made it clear he is looking to play for a much bigger market, such as the New York Rangers or the Los Angeles Kings, it is believed that a surprise new contender has just jumped into the mix.
It has been reported that Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic is planning to aggressive in free agency this summer to help improve his roster, especially after his team’s strong performance in the postseason.
Team insider Adrian Dater therefore confirmed that the Avalanche will chase Panarin in July. He also added that they could target Winnipeg Jets centre, potentially if things fall through with the Bread Man.
"It's a pretty good class this year," Sakic said last week. "(We) already have targeted players in mind if they become available that we'll want to talk to about joining our club. We see positions of need, of what we're looking to do. There are a few guys we're going to want to talk to if they become available. We'll be more aggressive this year with that, but if it doesn't work out with the players we want to talk to we're not just going to go spend on anybody.
"We want the right players and the right fit."
The problem with this rumour is that Panarin has been looking to play for a bigger market, and you better believe fans in Columbus would be outraged if he ended up signing in Denver.
The same could be said about the latest chatter that Panarin is getting closer to taking his talents to Florida, where he already owns a vacation home, seeing that it is a non-tax sunny state…
I guess when your name is Panarin, you can afford to pick and choose…