Panarin, agent to meet with Blue Jackets over All-Star Break

Artemi Panarin and his agent, Dan Milstein, plan to meet with the Columbus Blue Jackets during the All-Star break to discuss the left winger’s contract situation.

“As far as the contract, he’s genuinely happy right now in Columbus, things are going well for the team and for him,” Milstein said Friday on TSN Radio 1050 Toronto. “He’s having a good time, he obviously likes the organization, great coaching. We have decided to meet up during the All-Star break to sit down and talk about different possibilities and what the future may hold.

“Everybody will have to wait just a little bit longer, but we’ll get together at the end of January and we’ll have a serious conversation.”

The NHL break is from Jan. 20 to 26, with All-Star festivities on the final two days. The respite comes about a month before the Feb. 25 trade deadline, at which time Panarin’s name could become a popular one.

The 27-year-old is in the final year of a two-year, $12 million deal signed with the Chicago Blackhawks, who traded Panarin to Columbus in June of 2017. Panarin had a career season with 82 points (27 goals, 55 assists) in 81 games last season, and he’s on his way to surpass it this year with 41 points (12 goals, 29 assists) in 36 games. No other Blue Jacket has more than 85 points since Panarin arrived.

Panarin has been eligible to sign an extension since July 1, but Milstein told The Athletic in mid-July that his client would prefer a shorter-term deal than the maximum-length, eight-year, $88 million contract Columbus was offering. Milstein added that Panarin was not interested in contract talks during the season, as he sought to avoid distraction.

“We’re going to talk about, obviously, the team itself, the prospects of the future,” Milstein said. “[Panarin is] extremely competitive, he wants to help the team to win. We’re going to be looking at rosters, looking at teams, looking at the possibilities and the future role that he may have on the team and he’ll basically make a decision.

“I just want to be up front that he likes it in Columbus. As far as the team, they have a good young team, he’s got a very good center (Pierre-Luc Dubois), and management has been nothing but great to him.”

Columbus has another key free-agent-to-be in goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. The 30-year-old two-time Vezina Trophy winner is in the final year of a four-year, $29.7 million deal.

–Field Level Media

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