Artemi Panarin is very unlikely to remain within the Metropolitan Division. Especially with the Blue Jackets fighting for their own playoff spot.
I’ll be the guy to take the hit for being the bearer of bad news, but also hoping that I am completely wrong in my assumption…
The New York Islanders will not land Artemi Panarin – before July 1st.
The prospect of Columbus considering to trade the star forward to a rivaling team in their own division, while themselves are attempting to make a push for a cup – well… Let’s just say they’d have to be mighty desperate to play ball with anyone within the Metropolitan. Forget the fact that Panarin has certain destinations in mind. Preferably, he’s wanting to play in a large city (check), with New York being a destination he’d like. Unfortunately for Isles fans, many feel he was referring to a certain team in Manhattan when referring to NY in particular. With the Rangers in full-rebuild mode, I think that works out perfectly for the Islanders – as I would like to hope that Artemi isn’t interested in moving to a team for the Broadway show access.
I’ll also mention that these same people felt the Islanders would be basement dwellers this year – so there’s that.
The tune I’d be singing would be completely different if the Blue Jackets weren’t in their own fight for a playoff spot.
After July 1st – now we’re talking.
I can see Lou Lamoriello and company putting on a hard sell for the dynamic winger, assuming he’s still not dealt, and more importantly, tied up long-term with another club.
And why wouldn’t he pursue him?!
Any General Manager would salivate over the chance of adding a proven super-star scoring winger on their squad. And with the Islanders seemingly ahead of schedule in the Trotz-era, only a dope wouldn’t see that adding a guy like Panarin to that line-up would only make them a more serious threat for a cup. And with Barry Trotz at the helm with experience dealing with super-star wingers (IE: Ovechkin), it almost seems like a match made in hockey heaven.
So if no Panarin at the deadline, then who?
I think if the Isles are going big game hunting for the deadline, they’re going to be a few requirements.
Requirement #1 – There’s got to be term on that deal.
I can’t see Lou just gearing up to blow his wad on a rental without some sort of guarantee. My opinion is that the Isles don’t quite have the personal yet to warrant that. Plus, if he were to go the rental route – you can be pretty sure it would require a pay-back of multiple prospects. The Islanders pool of prospects is a rather shallow one at the moment, with a top heavy structure. Guys like Dobson, Bellows, Wahlstrom, and the like are all top-tier, but I can’t see Lou parting with any of them without a commitment of the piece coming back.
Requirement #2 – The piece is probably coming from outside of the division.
This ties into why I think Panarin isn’t going anywhere locally until after July 1st. The Metro is just too tight. While 50 games into the regular season, only 9 points are separating the First Place Islanders from the Fifth Place Hurricanes. That’s only a 5 game stretch cushion where if something goes wrong, the tables can be flipped.
There are a ton of articles throughout the web regarding who the Isles should hunt. I’ll add my literal 2-cents (2 players) to that mix.
A couple of names that I would like:
- Mark Stone, RW, Ottawa Senators — Well,yes, I immediately break my #1 Requirement with this pick – but let me explain. I think there would be a good possibility to work out a deal for him long-term. If he’s not willing to sign long-term, I wouldn’t bother with him… He just received $7m in arbitration this year, so he’s going to require a haul of sorts. There’s alot of talk that (believe it or not) Mark would like to stay in Ottawa long-term – I don’t believe that, as it sounds like a bunch of lip-service coming from a good team-player. That team right now is a cluster of comedy errors, and I can’t see a guy wanting to hang around that situation long-term if they’re wanting to compete for a cup anytime soon. With Duchene more than likely on the outs, Stone would certainly be the new cornerstone of that team – albeit, a rather bad one.
- Tyler Toffoli, RW/LW, LA Kings — With Muzzin being dealt to Toronto for a pick and prospects, it looks like the fire-sale in LA has commenced. Tyler has another year left on his $4.6m per contract, so Lou wouldn’t have to worry about negotiating until after the 2020 season. He’s 26 years old, so that would more than likely put this upcoming contract at his biggest pay-day. The Islanders could certainly afford it. Toffoli’s become quite the ~20 goal scorer and notable two-way forward, and would look rather nice on that top-six.
Be prepared for the Islanders to possibly stand-pat if the right situation isn’t out there – and Isles fans SHOULD BE OK WITH THAT. Making deals at the deadline doesn’t immediately mean an improvement to your team. Plenty of franchises have found that out the hard way.
I wouldn’t at all be shocked that Anders Lee gets locked up during that time if nothing is done on the trade market, so they can finally close the door on that. This would also subdue the immediate backlash from some crazed New York media.
It’s a safe bet that July 1st is going to be fun either way.
Follow/bash me on Twitter – @brasqo