Panarin not looking for trade, but future in Columbus still unclear

During Saturday Headlines, the panel discussed Dustin Byfuglien’s injury, the comments made by Jim Lites and Jon Cooper nearing an extension with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

It looks like we can remove Artemi Panarin‘s name from its long-standing position on the NHL’s list of trade rumours, though there are still plenty of questions about what the future holds for the Columbus Blue Jackets star.

As Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reported during Saturday’s Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada, the 22-13-3 club will likely have at least one more run at the playoffs with the dynamic winger.

“His agent went public, said all the right things in terms of how happy he is now in Columbus. He doesn’t want to get traded. He’d like to see out the season with Columbus, see how far they can go. In saying that, remains non-committed to a new contract,” said Kypreos. “Many believe inside our industry that he’s still destined to look at free agency, test the market, and the Rangers remain the odds-on favourite to land him next season.”

The 27-year-old winger currently counts for $6 million against the cap, and will earn tons of interest should he hit the open market on July 1.

Panarin was dealt to Columbus by the Chicago Blackhawks in June 2017 and has led the franchise in scoring ever since, tallying 27 goals and a career-best 82 points in 2017-18 and registering 12 goals and 41 points through 36 games so far this season. But contract questions had the Blue Jackets reportedly testing the market for him this past off-season, despite making it clear that their preference was to lock him up long-term.

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