As much as Columbus Blue Jackets fans may want to be critical of star forward Artemi Panarin for his reluctance to sign a contract extension, at least give him credit for being honest and forthcoming in the process. Panarin has been consistent and open in his feelings about in-season negotiations and his impending free agency and again re-iterated his point today. Agent Dan Milstein released this statement on Panarin’s behalf:
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 added that there will be no further comment from the player’s side on negotiations this season, as they have made the definitive call to leave contract talks for the off-season. Panarin is well within his rights to want to solely focus on his game and the Blue Jackets’ stretch run this season and previous comments have made it clear that he does enjoy playing for Columbus and is determined to help the team succeed in the postseason. However, it may be difficult for him to accomplish that if he is traded to a different team.