Friedman examines Panarin UFA outlook

All signs point to Artemi Panarin exploring his free agent options this summer, and there will be no shortage of suitors for his services.

Elliotte Friedman had a brief mention in his latest edition of 31 Thoughts.

“13. If you’re wondering who might be next to follow John Tavares’s free-agent setup, the betting money is on Artemi Panarin.”

The NHL Insider was asked about that notion during a Wednesday afternoon radio hit on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960.

“Yeah, I think that everybody is kind of preparing for that,” indicated Friedman. “I think that Panarin has made it clear he wants to be in a big market, probably closer to the coasts.

“I think if the Rangers are interested, I think they’d be a very, very serious contender.

“But I know that there are teams kind of preparing for the possibility that he could have that kind of a set-up.”

Panarin is in the second season of a two-year, $12 million contract and has indicated an unwillingness to sign an extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets at this time.

Contract-related info via CapFriendly