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Our Sources Tell Us: Artemi Panarin is on the Market

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

“Our Sources Tell Us” is an occasional series wherein we look at possible trade targets for the Carolina Hurricanes.

Elliotte Friedman set Twitter ablaze this afternoon, reporting that the Columbus Blue Jackets are exploring potential trade avenues involving star forward Artemi Panarin.

Columbus-based reporter Aaron Portzline from The Athletic added this bit to conversation shortly after:

“Artemi is an elite National Hockey League player,” Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen told The Athletic. “Our position has been that we want him to be a Blue Jacket for many years, and that has not changed.

“He has a year left on his contract, so there is plenty of time to work towards that end. Should anything change moving forward, we will address it at that time and any decision we make will be in the best interest of our club.”

Panarin’s agent, Daniel Milstein, told The Athletic it “wouldn’t be appropriate for me to comment at this time.” He declined to confirm or deny the report.

So, things appear to be testy in Columbus between the Blue Jackets and their new single-season point record holder. Will he sign an extension with the team?

Right now, things aren’t looking promising for the Jackets, and now they’re exploring their options, looking to maximize the value of the player. That option could very well be trading him this offseason.

Obviously, the Carolina Hurricanes could play a role in all of this, given how active they have been in trade discussions and their self-described need for more offense.

Through three full NHL seasons (two in Chicago and one in Columbus), Panarin has established himself as an elite offensive player. To this point, he has tallied 233 points in 243 games, including 82 points in 81 games last season. He’s also a playoff player, totaling 15 points in 17 career postseason contests.

He’s among the most talented puck handlers in the NHL and any team would be interested in adding a talent like him to the fold. He does come with some baggage, though. The most troublesome being his UFA status at the end of the 2018-19 season.

He, like Carolina’s Jeff Skinner, is due to hit the open market on July 1, 2019, pending a contract extension being signed before then. That alone adds a great deal of risk in trading for him, as he could easily walk upon the expiration of his deal.

Despite that fact, this is a player that the Hurricanes and general manager Don Waddell would be foolish not to, at the very least, ask about. He’s an elite first-line forward and, in the scenario that involves him coming to Raleigh, would be the leader of a group of him, Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen, and Andrei Svechnikov as the top-six wingers of what would be a potentially devastating offensive attack for the Hurricanes in 2018-19.

Of course, you have give up value to get value, so what would the Canes have to cough up?

My eyes turn to Jeff Skinner here. Skinner is a UFA in 2019 and giving him his fresh start on a good team makes sense, especially when you are getting an upgrade in Panarin coming back. A deal involving Panarin and Skinner gives both players and teams a fresh start and allows all parties to have one season to see if there could be a long-term fit for all parties in their new respective situations (Skinner in Columbus and Panarin in Carolina).

While Panarin doesn’t have any movement protection clauses, Skinner does have an NMC, but one would think that he’d be open to playing for an annual playoff threat like Columbus and potentially adding to his value on a good team in his contract season.

Skinner is only a starting point for Carolina, though. On top of #53, there would likely have to be another young forward going to other way, be it a guy like Janne Kuokkanen, Warren Foegele, or Julien Gauthier. On top of that, conditional draft picks would almost certainly be exchanged - with the condition being whether or not the players sign an extension with their new respective teams.

For example, if Panarin signs in Carolina, the Canes would have to give up their 2019 first-round pick and, if he doesn’t, the Canes would only have to give up their 2019 second-rounder. Or, if both Skinner and Panarin re-sign, the Blue Jackets would get Carolina’s first-round pick and the Hurricanes would get Columbus’ second-round pick, or something like that.

It’s confusing, right?

Thankfully, you and I aren’t the ones in charge of making these challenging decisions - that responsibility belongs to Carolina’s Don Waddell and Columbus’ Jarmo Kekalainen.

The way I see it, Panarin is a player that you seek out and even overpay for. The only piece that could be involved in these negotiations that I wouldn’t be willing to part with is the second-overall draft pick. Outside of that, Skinner, Faulk, prospects not named Martin Necas, and conditional picks should all be on the table.

What say you? Should the Hurricanes pursue a trade for the Russian star? Vote in the poll below and add to the conversation in the comment section.


Should the Hurricanes pursue a trade for Artemi Panarin, even if it involves Jeff Skinner?

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