Columbus Blue Jackets: Keeping Artemi Panarin Makes Them That Much Better
The Columbus Blue Jackets find themselves at a crossroads. Star winger, Artemi Panarin, might be on his way out of the city. He’s expressed displeasure with the organization, leading many to believe his time is short with the Jackets. This doesn’t have to be the case. It’s possible Columbus still keeps Panarin. And they are an instant Stanley Cup contender if they do.
Saying the Blue Jackets are a Stanley Cup contender is quite remarkable. The organization has never even made it out of the first round of the NHL playoffs. It’s not like the talent isn’t there. The Jackets have a ton of potential superstars. Panarin being the top offensive dynamo. He’s not the only one on the roster that can be a difference maker.
With Cam Atkinson, Boone Jenner, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Alexander Wennberg, Sonny Milano, Seth Jones, Zach Werenski, and Nick Foligno, this isn’t a draft lottery roster. All of these names have had big seasons with the team. Some, like Wennberg and Jenner, are coming off terrible seasons. Others, such as Jones and Dubois, are looking to take the next step.
Panarin isn’t far from a Stanley Cup in Columbus. Guys like Atkinson are a guaranteed 30+ goals a year. Any resurgence from Jenner and Wennberg and this is a much stronger Jackets team. Panarin has the chance to cement a legacy in Columbus. He’s the main draw to an offense that at times is the best in the NHL.
There’s a lot of uncertainty with Columbus every year. They are a hit or miss team. You think they are a contender and then they fall flat on their face. Assuming all the aforementioned talent play at what they are capable of, this is truly a contender. That can be said about every team in the NHL. There’s just such a prestige over the Jackets.
You know these guys are really good. If only they could just figure it out at the right time. There aren’t many NHL teams with the potential of the Jackets. And with the addition of Riley Nash and Anthony Duclair, Columbus just adds more potential lottery tickets to the roster.
As long as Sergei Bobrovsky patrols the net for Columbus they’ll be in the hunt. It’s all about the supporting cast on offense and defense as to whether they can make and advance in the playoffs. And to do that, Panarin must be at the forefront of the attack. He’s one of the most gifted players in all of hockey.
If it is indeed about winning for Panarin, the choice to stay with Columbus and grow with this rather young team makes perfect sense. If everything clicks, this is a Columbus Blue Jackets team that can make a deep run into the playoffs. Why would anyone want to leave that?
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