For all the talk of an Artemi Panarin trade, The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun cautions that the Columbus Blue Jackets keeping the star forward as an “own rental” is a very real possibility. Lebrun believes that it is all a cost-benefit analysis for the team, “because there’s almost no chance GM Jarmo Kekalainen simply sells off Panarin without also trying to replace him in some fashion via a separate transaction.”
The Blue Jackets are on a four-game winning streak and, with a win last night over the Washington Capitals, leapfrogged their rivals in points percentage to put them on pace to finish second in the Metropolitan Division. Columbus is still searching for it’s first playoff series win in franchise history and is not going to give up all hope of that accomplishment this season when they have played so well all season and could earn a home ice advantage in the first round.
As LeBrun notes, that means that if the Blue Jackets do in fact trade away Panarin, they would only do so knowing they could acquire another player of similar ability for a favorable price. LeBrun believes that Kekalainen continues to monitor the situation in Ottawa, as Senators forwards Matt Duchene or Mark Stone would be the most likely targets. However, if the Senators’ asking price for either Duchene or Stone is too similar to the return on a Panarin trade, the Blue Jackets lack incentive to shake up their roster for only a minor gain in trade capital.
Most likely, this means that Panarin could stay in Columbus as an “own rental” rather than be traded if, of course, the Blue Jackets remain hot through the deadline, but also if the demand from Ottawa is more of a flip of trade assets from a Panarin deal. If the Blue Jackets cannot walk away from the deadline with both an immediate replacement from Panarin and significant future piece, it’s possible that the star scorer isn’t going anywhere until this summer.