Blue Jackets’ Artemi Panarin: Shuts down contract talks

Panarin (knee) told the Blue Jackets he isn’t ready to talk about a contract extension at this time, Aaron Portzline of The Athletic Cleveland reports.

Panarin has one year remaining on a two-year contract worth $12 million, and it appears he’ll look to obtain his full market value next summer as an unrestricted free agent for the first time of his career. The 26-year-old posted at least 74 points in each of his first three seasons, so his next deal will be top dollar. Predictably, the Blue Jackets don’t want to let Panarin walk after the 2018-19 season without a return, so they will test the trade market, which could keep the spotlight on him during the 2018 NHL Draft.

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