In today’s NHL rumors, the recipients of Jim Lites’ tirade out of Dallas have their chance to comment and there is speculation on what the fallout of the drama might be. The Blue Jackets are hearing the Artemi Panarin wants to stick around this season but may still want the freedom to explore his options when the season ends and the Rangers might be showcasing some of their players in an effort to trade them.
Stars Not Looking to Trade Benn or Seguin
Mark Stepneski wrote that Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn both had comments in regard to the lashing they took from Stars CEO Jim Lites over their respective performances this year. Specifically, Seguin said he had not spoken with Lites at all prior to these comments that came as a shock.
“I guess, in one aspect because I obviously didn’t know how he felt. So, it came as a bit of a surprise. But, I said it yesterday in practice that I understand I need to be better, Jamie understands he needs to be better, and we need to lead this team to be better.”
Elliotte Friedman reached out to Stars owner Tom Gaglardi and asked if these comments were an indication the organization might be looking to move either player. The response was, a definite no and that these comments were meant to motivate and get the players playing up to the expectations that come with their large contracts.
"Our best players have to be our best players. This is not about trading anyone. This is not about firing anyone. We are in danger of missing the playoffs for the third straight year, and this team is built to win and contend now (2/3)…
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) December 30, 2018
Mark Stepneski then reported that Jamie Benn commented that he doesn’t play for Lites, he plays for the players in the room and his coaches. He’d have preferred the discussions about their performances be kept internal but it is what it is and “I am proud to be a Dallas Star and I am proud to go out every night and battle with these guys in games. I really put my teammates first.”
Nick Kypreos said during Saturday’s Headlines segment the NHLPA will likely take a look in the matter and they’ll want to talk with both Seguin and Benn beforehand. Kypreos isn’t sure if there is anything the PA can do aside from making a statement.
Panarin to Stay in Columbus But Look at New York?
Nick Kypreos also said the Columbus Blue Jackets and pending free agent forward Artemi Panarin might be getting closer to making things work between the two sides. Kypreos said, “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.”
Backing that feeling Panarin is more likely to stick around, Dan Milstein (Panarin’s agent) told TSN’s “Leafs Lunch” on Friday that the player is also reportedly opening up to the idea of an extension with the Blue Jackets. The Blue Jackets and Panarin will meet to discuss a contract over the All-Star break.
Unfortunately, not everything is perfect when it comes to Panarin. Kypreos isn’t sure if this is just lip service because Panarin still isn’t committing to a new contract and many still believe he’ll explore free agency with the Rangers the favorite at this point to land him.
If this is the case, this is a tricky situation for the Blue Jackets who might choose to trade him if the odds are he’ll leave. It also means the Rangers might have to start moving pieces to clear cap space in the event they need to make room for Panarin’s contract.
Rangers Shopping Shattenkirk?
Larry Brooks of the New York Post writes that the Rangers aren’t going to be a playoff team and that they should coach towards the trade deadline and “build the value of his players, even if that might not align with the short-time objective of winning the next game.” In short, Brooks suggests that winning or losing isn’t as important as taking the next steps towards their future gameplan with our without certain players.
Brooks names Kevin Shattenkirk as the type of player the Rangers should showcase on the top unit power play when he returns in an effort to highlight his value and see if there’s a potential landing spot out there for him.