Artemi Panarin conducts an interview in English and outlines free agency and what might happen in the future
Jeff Svoboda of Blue Jackets.com: Columbus Blue Jackets pending unrestricted free agent Artemi Panarin met with the media yesterday and did an interview in English a day after switching agent. He has never done an interview in Engish before.
Panarin will test free agency no matter where he ends up.
“I want to test free agency,” he said after Friday’s practice, one day before the Blue Jackets take on Vegas. “There is still a chance (I could re-sign with Columbus), but I want to see in the summer if I feel there are better options.”
Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekelainen has some tough decisions ahead of him.
“If we have to make a hard decision, we will,” Kekalainen said Jan. 29 after Panarin’s former agent, Dan Milstein, said Panarin will not re-sign during the season. “We like Artemi and would like to keep him, and it’s his right to go into free agency. If he chooses to do so, we’ll be knocking on his door July 1, but we’re going to go about our business here and try to win hockey games and make the playoffs and go as deep as possible this spring, too.”
The Blue Jackets could also look to trade Panarin before the deadline.
Brian Hedger of The Columbus Dispatch: Artemi Panarin on if he already has a team and city picked out for free agency.
“Not right now, no,” he said, when asked if a specific team had his attention. “Seriously, guys, I don’t have a team, not one team where I want to go. But I have many teams. We’ll see what happens in the summer, but right now I don’t know what I want.”
Blue Jackets GM Kekelainen is listening to trade offers on Panarin, so it is possible that he’s moved before the trade deadline, and Panarin knows it could happen.
“If Jarmo trade me, it’s ‘get working,’ that’s it,” Panarin said, citing his own path to Columbus in a June 2017 trade with the Chicago Blackhawks. “I understand his business, because (Blackhawks general manager) Stan Bowman didn’t ask me. He just traded me. After free agency, I will have a new position, no trades, you know, because I control the situation. Right now, I don’t control it and I’m still just a hockey player.”