A Columbus company has made pending free agent Artemi Panarin an offer he might not be able to refuse.
High Bank Distillery has posted a new billboard in Columbus, promising the Russian forward free vodka for life if he re-signs with the Blue Jackets.
It’s unclear if goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, also Russian and also a pending free agent, can cash in on this deal too.
Panarin has been one of the most dynamic players since he broke into the league with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2015-16. He beat Connor McDavid for the rookie of the year award that season, and is tied with Brad Marchand for seventh in total points (278 in 283 games) over the last four seasons.
The 27-year-old is in the final year of a two-year, $12-million contract and is expected to earn a big pay raise this summer.
On Dec. 30, during the Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada, Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reported that Panarin and his agent, Dan Milstein, will wait until the end of the season to decide his future.
But the vodka offer could change their mind.
— Dan Milstein-Hockey (@HockeyAgent1) January 8, 2019
UPDATE: Panarin has found the billboard.
In a message on his Instagram account, the soon-to-be-very-drunk Panarin wrote “Columbus, you keep amazing me. Thank you for your brilliance. Now I have a new spot to dine at.”