Dreger on potential Panarin suitors and contract range

It certainly seems as if Artemi Panarin will be headed into UFA waters in July, so which teams might be in the running to land him?

Darren Dreger had a Tuesday afternoon Leafs Lunch radio hit on Toronto’s TSN 1050.

As part of a longer discussion on the Columbus Blue Jackets and Panarin in the wake of the statement released by his agent Monday, Dreger shared a few tidbits related to the potential unrestricted free agent market for the star forward.

“I’m telling you this: For a mid-market team like Columbus, or any team - and I’m going to include Pittsburgh into this grouping, St. Louis, I mean these are teams with good rosters - for them to get in on Panarin, they’re going to have to overpay,” indicated Dreger. “They’re going to have to overpay, because I think geographically that matters to him.

“So I’m looking at the Islanders - I think Panarin would love to play with Mat Barzal. I’m looking at even the Philadelphia Flyers, depending on what happens. I didn’t know this, maybe you guys did and it slipped under my radar - apparently Philadelphia came real close to acquiring Panarin at the draft last year.

“... I don’t know what the components were, but I know that Philadelphia felt like they were pretty close to getting Panarin at the draft.

“Now, there’s been a change in management obviously. Chuck Fletcher, he’s going to be pretty motivated, isn’t he, to add some pieces. Now, he might be able to add some pretty offensive-minded players through trade, considering some of the assets he’s willing to peddle. But I look at Philadelphia as a potential landing spot for Panarin.

“The Rangers are always in that mix, even though they feel like they’re a ways away.

“And then you’ve got to shift over into the Western Conference, and looks at the likes of maybe San Jose. Los Angeles feels a bit of a stretch because of the turnaround there. He’s going to have lots of geographic locations that are much more appealing.

“Oh, in the East I forgot Florida... So maybe it’s the Islanders, the Flyers, Florida in the East.

“The point being Artemi Panarin is going to have his pick of the litter, and I think they’re going to steal a page from the Maple Leafs. I think he’s going to get that seven-year term and $11 million AAV.”

Panarin is in the second season of a two-year, $12 million contract, and can become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Contract-related info via CapFriendly