Blue Jackets making push to convince Artemi Panarin to return to Columbus

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Artemi Panarin. (Derik Hamilton/AP)

The Artemi Panarin sweepstakes appear to be down to three teams, with the Columbus Blue Jackets still trying to convince the star forward to return to Columbus, according to Sportsnet’s John Shannon.

The other three franchises rounding out the trio in the mix are the New York Islanders and Florida Panthers, according to Shannon.

Columbus has reportedly offered Panarin an eight-year, $96-million contract, according to Aaron Portzline of The Athletic.

The Blue Jackets are the only team that can offer him an eight-year term, according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. However, Johnston notes that in order to include an eighth year, the deal would have to be done by 12 a.m. ET.

That version of the deal would carry an average annual value of $12 million per season, but Portzline adds that the deal could be worth as much as $100 million which would work out to $12.5 million per season.

Any other team seeking to match the total value of an eight-year contract would be forced to offer an average annual salary in the neighbourhood of $13.7 million, according to Johnston.

Panarin, 27, scored 28 goals and added 57 assists in 79 regular season games for the Blue Jackets. During the playoffs, he scored five goals and added six assists during Columbus’ two round run.

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