Photo Credit: NHL.com

Rumour: Vancouver a Canadian city of interest for Artemi Panarin

Imagine a line of Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser and Artemi Panarin.

While that trio would do some major damage on the ice, it would certainly also do some major damage against the cap.

Trade deadline season always brings about some intriguing rumours in the hockey world. There is plenty of speculation of where Columbus Blue Jackets forward Artemi Panarin will end up.

Panarin will be a UFA at the end of 2018-19 and has gone on the record saying he wants to test the free agent market.

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“I want to see what happens in the summer, and if I have better options,” Panarin said, according to The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline. “I’m ready for that situation. I know in the summer how hard that will be for me. I’m ready. Still positive.”

According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Vancouver could be a potential landing spot for the 27-year-old Russian forward in free agency.

In the Trade Deadline episode of the Bobcast, McKenzie states that it’s his understanding that Vancouver and Toronto are the only two potential Canadian cities Panarin would go to in free agency.

McKenzie believes Canada is mainly a “no-fly” zone for Panarin, but Vancouver and Toronto are the two exceptions. He then rules out Toronto for obvious reasons due to the money he’s going to want.

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McKenzie makes it clear that Canada isn’t a likely landing spot for Panarin compared to some of the bigger American cities, but if the Russian forward were to pursue that route, it would be either Vancouver or Toronto. McKenzie cites the size of those two cities and what they embody as reasons why they appeal to Panarin.

It’s pretty obvious that if Panarin were to be dealt before Monday’s NHL Trade Deadline, Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekäläinen would need to be getting back a very significant return. It’s highly unlikely Vancouver would make a trade or even be able to make a trade for Panarin in the coming days. This speculation is purely based on the assumption of Panarin going to free agency.

Panarin is a special player with ridiculous skill. He’s also going to want big money and a multi-year deal. Considering the future contracts for Boeser and Pettersson, it’s hard to imagine GM Jim Benning locking up a very significant amount of money in three offensive juggernauts.

There’s certainly no denying that Vancouver could use an Artemi Panarin type, especially when you consider the lacking left side for the Canucks. Panarin is a left winger and would provide a major upgrade to a team currently deploying Josh Leivo, Ryan Spooner, Antoine Roussel and Loui Eriksson on that wing.

Players like Panarin don’t come along very often. He’s a point-per-game scorer through 300 NHL games and can be a difference maker whenever he’s on the ice. His current contract carries an AAV of $6M and he’s going to be looking to cash in on another very productive year.

With Matt Duchene headed to Columbus, it appears the Blue Jackets may keep Panarin this season for a hopeful playoff run and let him test his options on July 1st.

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As McKenzie stated on the podcast, Panarin to Vancouver is unlikely, but it’s certainly not out of the question if the Canucks want to make a splash in free agency.

  • The Canucks would need to find a way out from under the Eriksson contract in order to make the deal work long-term, but boy would it be nice to see a player like Panarin in Vancouver. You could load up the top line, or you could have effectively two first lines with Pettersson / Boeser and Horvat / Panarin.

    • NucksLifer

      I’ve said this a number of times but I’ll repeat it again: Ericksson’s contract is not an obstacle. After his signing bonus is paid July 1st, there are 3 years left on his contract at $3 million per. That is a comparatively easy contract to move.

      The Canucks are projected to have $28 million in cap space for next years. Boeser and Hutton are RFAs so will require some of that money (estimate $10-11 m per for the 2 of them). Assume Edler is resigned at $5 m per. That leaves $12 m in cap space. Trading Ericksson frees up $6 m. Trade Guddy and Sutter and get another $8.4 m. There is ample space for the next couple of years.

      Getting Panarin and, possibly, one more FA forward plus one solid D (if Joulevi and Hughes don’t step up), would be great.

      Baer (if he recovers)/Panarin – Bo – (FA?)
      Panarin/Baer – Petterson – Boeser
      Leivo – Gaudette – Virtanen
      Motte – Beagle – Roussel

      ex – Spooner, Mac

      Edler – Tanev
      Hutton – Stetcher
      Joulevi – Hughes

      ex. Sautner


      • Defenceman Factory

        I do agree with you the Canucks could probably fit Panarin in and manage the money if they can move out Ericksson, Guddy and Sutter. They should do that as long as the Panarin salary isn’t outrageous as they are other good quality UFA wingers that could be signed.

        Despite the actual cost to any other team of $3 mil per year for Ericksson after July 1 the cap hit will still be $6 mil. I agree it shouldn’t be impossible to move that contract but I don’t anticipate anyone clamouring to take on Ericksson.

      • Having millions of dollars in dead weight on the team is always an obstacle. The closer you get to the cap, the bigger an obstacle it becomes. Eriksson (there is no C) is not an obstacle to signing Panarin. However, if Benning doesn’t do something about the millions tied up with dead weight players like Eriksson and Gudbranson (and probably, lets be real, Jay Beagle in a couple of years, given his age), it’s going to limit the team’s ability to build a contender – it will limit their ability to bring in other free agents, to re-sign their young players, and to leverage their cap space creatively.

        Just waving your hands and saying “well they can trade him!” is a bit silly. Anyone can be moved in this league, but the Canucks will almost certainly have to give up assets in order to get out from under the contract.

        The roster you posted is not a playoff team, let alone a Stanley Cup contender. They need to sign a couple of *good* free agent defencemen and continue to build from within, and those things require cap flexibility, which, when you’ve got 25% of your cap tied to aging, mediocre players on bad contracts, is a thing you don’t really have.

        • Two years ago the Leafs had mountains of cap space. They made a big free agent splash and re-signed two of their star young players, and now they’re right up against the cap. They’re a team without any bad contracts and a few really good ones (Kadri and Reilly). Imagine if they had $10 million tied to Eriksson and Gudbranson – they’d be completely F’d right now. They’d either have to trade Mitch Marner, or they’d have to give up significant assets to get those two contracts out of town.

          This is the position the Canucks should *hope* to be in in two years’ time. They should want to be in a position where their young stars are entitled to huge raises because they’ve been great, and where they can attract major free agent players like Panarin. If they find themselves in that situation, they’re going to have to do something about these dead weight contracts.

          • KGR

            I would argue that Toronto does have two dead weight salaries. Zaitsev is listed at 4.5 M and Marleau at 6 M. Yes, Marleau is still a decent player; but no longer worth anything close to 6M. At least he comes off the books after next season. Your point is valid about bad contracts, though every team seems to have one or two. Teams like Ottawa will take some one like Eriksson to reach the cap floor, especially if the Canucks retain part of the salary. I was surprised that Toronto gave Marleau that third year. The math didn’t fit with the expect salaries for 2019/20. Tavares is expensive and may also be a cap problem in a few years. I do think a player like Panarin is someone the team should go all in for…if he wants to be here. Erik Karlsson is another interesting one…not sure whether he would be worth it or not. Cheers

      • Fred-65

        As I understand the money per se is not the problem as much as the Salary Cap handicaps his roster spot. Salaries are averaged out over the term of the contract as I understand. So the Cap hit remains as US$6 mill.

      • “long-term”. The Canucks can easily fit him in next season. My concern is a couple of years down the line when Eriksson still has a $6 million cap hit, they’re giving Panarin $10 million, and their young stars are looking for long term and big money.

  • speering major

    In 2 seasons (2020-21) Lou will be given a a summer signing bonus and have a salary of only $1 million. The year after he will have a $1 million bonus and $3 million salary. If he was traded at the 2020-2021 deadline or sooner (after the summer bonus had been paid) the Canucks could retain some salary for the remaining year of his contract. His cap hit would be much larger than his cap hit. There’s plenty of teams that don’t spend to the cap that could take him if he’s better than the available players on an ELC. It seems like Lou could easily be moved if he is still useful after next season.

    Spooner, Sutter, Baertschi, and Gudbranson are all off the books by the time Petterson needs to be signed. Perhaps Luongo and a raise in the cap also

    There’s clearly enough room to sign a big ticket player. I really like Panarin as a player but part of me wonders what the point would be? The team still has a ton of holes, especially on D. If Oli was called up and tracking to be a solid top 4, that might change things but at this point things are so paper thin on D that I wouldn’t try to make a run at anything until there’s a resolution in place that you could be confident in. Edler and Tanev are both passed their prime and far too injury prone to bank on. Tryamkin doesn’t seem to be progressing in Russia. Woo is at least another year away from being able to reasonably project his trajectory to the NHL. If they try to solve this by another free agency signing, then they become cap crunched

    Big question marks with regards to the future in net also

    I think the Canucks would be much better off going after a younger and lower profile guy like Kasperi K. He’s never going to be Panarin but he’s also going to be half the price. His best years are also ahead of him

  • wojohowitz

    The agents like to set up a bidding war. The GMs like the free publicity. The media is the pimp/go between.

    Would Panarin/Karlsson like to sign with Vancouver? Absolutely.

    Would Benning like to sign Panarin/Karlsson? Sure – why not.

    Chances of either happening? zzzero.

  • North Van Halen

    Boy Genius laid out in the Athletic how the Canucks could easily fit a big dollar contract this summer. He advocated Stone but getting high end players before their 30’s without giving up any assets isn’t an opportunity that comes often. Generally, it ends up with a team giving $6mil to a Lucic, Ericksson or Backes hoping they can extend their shelf life.
    Doubt this happens since a guy like Panarnin likely cares too much about the bottom line & our taxes mean we’d have to out bid teams like Florida by a fair bit but if the opprtunity arises to sign an elite player, under 28 and you can afford it, you do it.

      • Cageyvet

        While I’m not against 8 million for him, it’s a number that doesn’t make life any easier on deals for Boeser and Petterson, even if Panarin has earned it.
        I don’t see Karlsson signing here, but I think you could justify overpaying him on the blueline more easily, and have less trickle-down effect on salaries. He’s more elite at his position than Panarin, and we need that talent on D more than up front.

  • Kanuckhotep

    Panarin and/or Erik Karlsson, like Tavares last year, would certainly be a mega attractive addition to the Canucks but does it make sense. The ugliest two letter word in the English language, “if” rears it’s repulsive head here. If the Canucks were on the edge of contending and/or this was two years from now it would make total sense but more big coin contracts for a squad who have not done anything to this point of note seems a stretch. Don’t get me wrong. Who wouldn’t want Panarin or EK but it doesn’t feel realistic, plus the Canucks may not be ready to bring those kinds of guys on board. Sure would like to be wrong on this one.