Rumour Report: Panarin sweepstakes could have over a dozen teams involved

The Artemi Panarin Sweepstakes are only just beginning with NHL free agency on the horizon.

  • In the end, the Blue Jackets never really got close to trading Panarin at this year's NHL trade deadline. But that didn't stop a bevy of teams from trying to make it happen. And nobody but Panarin himself can stop them from taking another run at it in July.
  • Among the teams that pushed the hardest on Panarin were the Panthers, Bruins and Islanders. It's believed the Jackets had no interest in moving Panarin within the Eastern Conference, let alone their own division, but they no longer have a say with Panarin headed out the door on July 1st.

  • The Panthers are likely to be at the forefront of things when Panarin hits the open market. Rumblings suggest they want to bring in both Panarin and Columbus teammate Sergei Bobrovsky, and could be willing to ship out Mike Hoffman or Jonathan Huberdeau to accommodate their salaries.
  • Rumblings suggest the Blackhawks, Rangers and Kings will be ready to make pitches to the star winger as well. Panarin's history with Chicago as well as his desire to play in a big city make them a logical landing spot. The Rangers and Kings also have the appeal of being big markets, but it remains to be seen whether Panarin wants to join franchises in the middle of a rebuild.

  • The Predators, Flyers, Penguins, Avalanche, Lightning and Blues have also been linked to Panarin, but at this moment don't appear to be in the pack of frontrunners. The Maple Leafs have always had interest in Panarin - even before he joined the NHL - but they're most definitely out of the running after locking up its young core to mega-contracts. There are surely other suitors around the league which haven't been pinned down just yet.
  • Ultimately, it doesn't sound like Panarin has his mind made up, making the pre-July courting period even more intriguing. The rumours are bound to heat up in the coming few months as the Panarin Sweepstakes get going once again. Follow NHL Rumour Report on Facebook and Twitter for the latest rumour updates!

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