Chicago Blackhawks: A reunion with Artemi Panarin not farfetched

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Go back about 13 months ago. The Chicago Blackhawks sent off Artemi Panarin to the Columbus Blue Jackets to bring back Brandon Saad. A deal that was made to try and re-ignite the aging Hawks after being swept by the Predators. Alas, it didn’t go according to plan.

Fast forward to the present. The Chicago Blackhawks just sent away Marian Hossa in a salary dump deal and had something of a ‘blah’ free agency period. While the prospect training camp has yielded positive results, there may soon be another positive story ahead.

Of late, Artemi Panarin hasn’t been completely eager to re-up with Columbus. He hits unrestricted free agency next summer and will be due for his first long-term contract. However, he doesn’t seem super inclined to spend it in Columbus, Ohio.

In turn, the Blue Jackets brass sprang into action and had a meeting with him earlier this week. But things still sound bleak:

What seems to be the move now for Columbus, given that they can’t secure one of their best, young players?

Things now get a little prickly. Consider what happened with the New York Islanders several weeks ago. They lost their franchise star (John Tavares) to the Toronto Maple Leafs for nothing. Panarin may never reach Tavares’ level, but the Jackets simply can’t let him walk and wind up empty-handed.

To make matters more complicated, the ‘Bread Man’ gave the front office an ultimatum: if you can’t get me to sign by September 13th, we’re done talking. The scary part about that is Tavares also didn’t want to have contract discussions during the regular season. The foreshadowing is all too real.

Stan Bowman’s time to shine…

While it would be silly to bring back another former Blackhawk, this move could make some sense. Panarin does have familiarity with the team and the city, which may make him more inclined to sign a long-term deal. He may not represent a major need on defense, however, the team needs to get younger.

Not only is Panarin ripe at 26, but he is a proven talent.

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Regardless of what the cost might be, the Blackhawks front office should strongly consider making a play to bring him home.

Stay tuned.