In today’s rumor rundown there is potentially bad news out of Columbus when it comes to Artemi Panarin. Meanwhile, the Winnipeg Jets know what they want out of the trade deadline, the Carolina Hurricanes are close to an extension with one of their players and the Maple Leafs will now focus their attention on Auston Matthews after completing a trade to bolster their blue line.
Artemi Panarin Will Likely Be Moved
The situation in Columbus between the Blue Jackets and Artemi Panarin has been closely watched all season but it took potentially a negative turn for the team over the past two days.
A pending free agent, Panarin has declined much discussion and any negotiations on a new deal with the team. Management met with his agent Dan Milstein over the All-Star break and he came back with instructions from his client saying:
We have informed the team that we are willing to discuss Artemi’s future after the season. Our priority now is to focus on the rest of the season, trying to win a Stanley Cup for the Columbus Blue Jackets and their fans.
Milstein then added that Panarin will not address the topic of contracts for the remainder of the season.
This is not good news for Columbus who will now have to either decide to keep Panarin and potentially lose him for nothing in free agency or trade him right away and do whatever they can to replace him for their possible playoff run.
For fans and media who don’t believe the team would trade him, consider the idea of both Panarin and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky walking in free agency and leaving Columbus with nothing to show for it. At the very least, Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen will now start listening to offers on his star forward.
There is a chance Panarin would elect to stay in Columbus once the season is complete as it’s been noted he’s been happy, but not having that guarantee may be too much for the Blue Jackets to risk.
Winnipeg Jets Looking for a No. 2 Center
Frank Seravalli of TSN is reporting the Winnipeg Jets are looking to acquire a second line center before the trade deadline next month. It’s a move they’ve made in past seasons (last year they acquired Paul Statsny) and it appears Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has reached out to the Pittsburgh Penguins about center Derick Brassard.
Apparently, the Penguins want too great a haul for Brassard at this point and Cheveldayoff could wait until the price drops or look elsewhere. Speculation is that he’d prefer a player with term.
Matthews Extension Next?
After landing Jake Muzzin from the Los Angeles Kings, the Toronto Maple Leafs may look to get the contract extension for Auston Matthews done next. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported on TSN 1050 that contract talks are heading down the right path and a new deal could happen relatively soon.
Speculation is that the Leafs might be looking at a shorter-term deal in an effort to keep the salary cap hit down and not potentially handcuff them over the next five years to six seasons. Five seasons would be the lowest annual salary option offering Matthews the opportunity to cash in at the end of those five seasons.
LeBrun adds that the structure could contain a lot of signing bonuses.
Hurricanes and Martinook Deal Close?
The Carolina Hurricanes are close to reaching a two-year extension with forward Jordan Martinook according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet. Martinook was set to become a restricted free agent for the final time this summer, and was arbitration eligible. A two-year extension will buy out a year of unrestricted free agency for the 26-year old forward.
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”