It’s easy to say the Columbus Blue Jackets should trade Sergei Bobrovsky and Artemi Panarin if they won’t sign extensions before the NHL Trade Deadline on Feb. 25 at 3 p.m. ET.
Bobrovsky is a two-time winner of the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s best goaltender. Panarin is Columbus’ leading scorer with 53 points (19 goals, 34 assists). Each is on an expiring contract and not negotiating.
The Blue Jackets can’t afford to let them leave for nothing, right?
They shouldn’t trade them just to get something, anything, in return. They must weigh what they could get for each player via trade versus how it would affect their chances to make a run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
General manager Jarmo Kekalainen was wisely calm and noncommittal Tuesday after Panarin’s agent, Dan Milstein, announced Monday that the 27-year-old forward would be willing to discuss his future after the season.
Asked what changed for him, Kekalainen said, “Nothing. We’ve said all along we’re going to make hard decisions if we have to. The focus is on making this team better and as competitive as possible for this spring but also for the future, obviously.”
Kekalainen reiterated that the Blue Jackets wanted to keep Panarin and said they would pursue him if he reached unrestricted free agency July 1.