The ‘Bread Man’ sure gets around.
Left winger Artemi Panarin is making full use of the NHL’s unrestricted free agent interview period with a series of stops around the circuit.
The tour began Sunday in Denver, at least for Panarin’s agent in talks with the Avalanche, while a face-to-face with the player was expected with the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. Then it’s a swing north to New York where the Rangers and Islanders are expected to have discussions. With 320 points in 322 NHL games and back-to-back 80-plus point years with Columbus, the interest in Panarin during a thin UFA summer is understandable.
Many think Panarin will settle in the Sunshine State where his former Chicago coach, Joel Quenneville, is now behind the Panthers’ bench, perhaps with goalie Sergei Bobrovsky for company. Florida took the top goalie in Friday night’s first round of the draft, Spencer Knight, but Bobrovsky is a more immediate upgrade on the aging Roberto Luongo.
The Panthers have more than $20 million US in cap space, but would like to move No. 2 goalie James Reimer’s $3.4 million ticket to create further room. Luongo has not yet established if he intends to play another year.
Don’t count out the Rangers giving Panarin both the cash and the big-city vibe he craves. Former Blue Jackets president John Davidson has moved there and would like to counter the hype the Devils have created across the Hudson River with Jack Hughes and P.K. Subban with a big-ticket signing of his own. Panarin could get a deal in the $9-million to $10-million range.
Two trades were made Monday, headlined by defenceman Calvin de Haan joining the Chicago Blackhawks from Carolina with forward Aleksi Saarela in exchange for goalie Anton Forsberg and defenceman Gustav Forsling … The Flyers acquired forward Tyler Pitlick from the Dallas Stars for forward Ryan Hartman … Centre William Karlsson has agreed to an eight-year contract with the Vegas Golden Knights worth $47.2 million … Forward Robert Thomas of the Stanley Cup champion Blues needed surgery to repair a tendon in his left wrist, an injury that occured in the conference final against the Sharks and held him to just two games in the Cup final versus Boston … The Oilers will qualify RFA Jesse Puljujarvi this week to retain his rights, despite threats he’ll play in Europe next season … Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reports the Canucks will not qualify defenceman Ben Hutton , making him a free agent.
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