Friedman: Panarin, Bobrovsky could be jolt Panthers need

It’s within the realm of reasonable possibility that Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky could remain teammates next season and beyond - just not with the Blue Jackets.

Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek opened the latest edition of 31 Thoughts: The Podcast with a discussion on each of the pending unrestricted free agents, after which the focus narrowed.

“Sneaky/stealth candidate for both come July 1 - you have a feeling about Florida,” directed Marek.

“I just think that’s a place both of them would be willing to go,” surmised Friedman of the Panthers. “I think that’s a team that’s going to need a jolt. They missed the playoffs a couple of years in a row after getting there. The biggest issue they’ve had is goaltending, and not because Roberto Luongo isn’t game - it’s simply because his body isn’t there anymore.

“First of all, I think the one thing that we all have to remember is Luongo lasted a lot longer than I think a lot of us thought he would. I don’t know how many people thought he’d still be playing now. But it’s finally happening.

“And you look at Florida, why have they missed the playoffs the last two years with a pretty good team.”

“Goaltending,” replied Marek.

“Yeah,” agreed Friedman. “And I could see Panarin wanting to go in that area too.

“Now, I’m curious to see what that’s going to mean around them. Are they going to have to move some guys out to get those guys in.

“But I can see that organization saying, ‘We need to change things up. We need a breath of fresh air.’ And those two guys can bring it. And I think they’d both play there.”

Panarin is wrapping up a two-year, $12 million contract.

Bobrovsky is in the final season of a four-year, $29.7 million pact, which also carries a no-move clause.

Wednesday evening, Darren Dreger discussed the possibility of the potential Panarin-Bobrovsky double threat with that franchise.

“I think that the appetite within the Florida Panthers is to get better quickly, both offensively and potentially in goal.”

Contract-related info via CapFriendly