Since the Bruins failed to lock up John Tavares, rumors have swirled about the Bruins interest in Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin.
“Would you give up Torey Krug in a deal for Panarin?”
“How about Jake Debrusk?”
“A first-round pick?”
These have all been questions asked when it comes to the Panarin rumors, with many fans split on what they would give up in order to acquire the winger. Generally, the price for someone like Panarin would be through the roof, but why are so few questioning what Panarin’s value realistically should be right now? The only reason Artemi Panarin is on the trading block at the moment is because he has said to the organization that he is unsure of whether or not he wants to stay in Columbus. He alerted them of his thought process ahead of time so they could get something for him before he walks in free agency next year if he so chooses. While he hasn’t shut the door on returning to Columbus entirely, he has explained his uncertainty to the organization as a fair warning in case he leaves next offseason, and so that they will understand the risks in retaining him for the upcoming NHL season.
The leverage the Blue Jackets have in negotiations with teams such as Boston should be vulnerable. While Panarin is a talent that should command a hefty return, how much can a team like Columbus expect to receive in compensation from another team given the uncertainty around Panarin’s desire to be a Blue Jacket in the future.
This is a moment in which Don Sweeney can make a statement to the league! After surrendering a third-round pick for Zac Rinaldo in a massive overpayment a few years ago, Sweeney can show the NHL what he has learned since this gruesome move and solidify himself as an effective negotiator if he takes advantage of the Blue Jackets lack of leverage.
For what it is worth, I think all three of those pieces mentioned above, should normally be in play for someone of Panarin’s caliber. It appears Sweeney would be least likely to part with the first-round pick given how much it irked him to be silent on the day one of the NHL draft this year after trading his pick to the Rangers in the Rick Nash deal. However, while I would have all those pieces in play for Panarin, I would be concerned and disappointed with Sweeney moving forward if the package looked something like this: Torey Krug; Jake DeBrusk; 1-2 prospects and picks.
I would be thrilled with the player, as getting Panarin would give Boston a lethal top-six, but the great general managers and executives take advantage of scenarios such as this one. Sweeney should not have to fork over Krug, DeBrusk, two prospects, and a couple picks for Panarin given the lack of leverage Columbus has. Sweeney has all the leverage, and as the days go by and Panarin continues to remain a Blue Jacket, he should be able to barter the price for Panarin down more and more as the days go by.
Sweeney is a good general manager, and he has proven that through his loaded farm system, the rapid development and maturation of some of these young kids at the pro level, and some of his depth NHL moves that helped Boston get back to the NHL playoffs these past couple seasons. Acquiring Panarin would be a good move for Sweeney regardless of what he gives up from his pool of young talent and draft picks (as long as Charlie McAvoy and David Pastrnak are not included), but if Sweeney wants to start being referred to as a great general manager, taking advantage of the pickle the Blue Jackets are currently in with a deal that comes away with Boston giving up less than expected for a superstar offensive talent in Panarin after watching what Tavares did to the New York Islanders would be a great place to start.