Dreger on link between Panarin, Rangers

The New York Rangers openly entered into a rebuild mode last season, but that team in that market will always be connected to potential star players additions.

During a Tuesday afternoon radio hit on Ottawa’s TSN 1200, Darren Dreger was asked to explore the patience level of the rebuild with the Detroit Red Wings and the Rangers, and the Insider connected the dots between New York and a marquee name due to hit the UFA market in July.

“Typical of the New York Rangers, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jeff Gorton and the New Rangers are a bit more active in the second half of the season, or at least attempt to be,” indicated Dreger. “There is no way they’re not keeping a real close eye on on what’s going on with Artemi Panarin and the Columbus Blue Jackets. My sense is that Panarin, wherever his new address is - if it’s in-season or if it’s as a free agent - he wants to be either somewhere near the East Coast or somewhere on the West Coast. So I can’t imagine that he wouldn’t be interested in the New York Rangers. So there’s a name that will be attached to New York until something proves otherwise.”

Panarin, who will turn 27 October 30, can become an unrestricted free agent this summer, and has indicated no desire to sign an extension with the Blue Jackets at this time.

The winger is in the second season of a two-year, $12 million contract and will be in line for a significant raise on his next pact.

Contract-related info via CapFriendly