A month after Artemi Panarin's agent stated his intention of discussing the left winger's future with the Columbus Blue Jackets in late January, the plan changed Monday. Agent Dan Milstein tweeted a statement announcing that he and Panarin won't talk with the club about a new contract until after the season.
Milstein's statement read: "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 CBJ & their fans." Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen declined comment Monday, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
Panarin, 27, is in the final year of a two-year, $12 million deal signed with the Chicago Blackhawks, who traded Panarin to Columbus in June 2017. On Dec. 28, Milstein said in an interview with TSN Radio 1050 Toronto, "As far as the contract, he's genuinely happy right now in Columbus, things are going well for the team and for him. He's having a good time, he obviously likes the organization, great coaching. We have decided to meet up during the All-Star break to sit down and talk about different possibilities and what the future may hold.
"Everybody will have to wait just a little bit longer, but we'll get together at the end of January and we'll have a serious conversation." Since those comments, Panarin has eight goals and five assists in 11 games, though Columbus is just 6-5-0 in that span.
Panarin posted his career-best point total last season, 82 (27 goals, 55 assists), in 81 games. He is on an even faster point pace this season with 19 goals and 34 assists through 46 games. If Columbus decides it won't be able to retain Panarin in the offseason, the Russia native could be dealt ahead of the Feb. 25 trade deadline.
--Field Level Media