On the Columbus Blue Jackets …
Aaron Portzline of The Athletic: (mailbag) Don’t see the Blue Jackets signing any big-named, big-ticketed free agents. They may have no choice but to use Alexander Wennberg and Brandon Dubinsky as their No. 2 and No. 3 centers.
It’s a total long-shot if they would be able to get John Tavares in free agency.
Don’t think the Brandon Dubinsky is untradable, but would likely have to take a contract back. If the Blue Jackets really need the salary cap space, they could buy him out, but it would cost them around $2 million for the next six years.
Artemi Panarin could cost $9 to $10 million on a contract extension.
Jack Johnson and Matt Calvert likely won’t be back with the Blue Jackets next year – pending free agents.
Think it’s 50-50 that Ian Cole will be back next year.
Think that Panarin will get an extension done before the start of training but not one for Sergei Bobrovsky.
Brian Heger of BlueJackets.com: Forward Artemi Panarin and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky have a year left on their deals. There haven’t been any preliminary talks between the Blue Jackets and their representatives.
“We haven’t really entered any discussions with their agents, so we’ll have to hear what they have to say first,” Kekalainen said. “Hopefully there’s a will for those guys to stay here when they could become unrestricted free agents . I hope they want to stay and they’re happy in Columbus, they want to stay with a good team. Both of those guys were huge parts of our team.”
The Blue Jackets acquired defenseman Ian Cole at the deadline. They would like to re-sign him, but they may have trouble doing so given their cap situations.
“If he wants to go to July 1 and see what’s out there, to weigh all his options and make a decision, that’s his right and there’s not much we can do about it except tell him we appreciate the job he did here,” Kekalainen said. “I was very pleased with the way he played from the first game that he came in with our group in the regular season and then throughout the playoffs.”