With the NHL season about to get underway, there are major questions about the futures of Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky in Columbus. And, while the team tries to manage whether or not to move the players or make a run for the NHL postseason, each star's personal and public comments aren't helping the situation.
Both Panarin and Bobrovsky have used the media to relay their current status with the team, including their futures which include needing new contracts at the end of the season. Panarin has been adamant that he isn't ruling out a return to the franchise, but he won't sign an extension with Columbus at this time and Bobrovsky has hinted he wants to be the highest paid goaltender in the NHL.
Adam Jardy of the Columbus Dispatch reports the Blue Jackets goaltender has publicly requested the media not ask him about his contract status going forward. He feels it would be a distraction and it's pointless since he’s already laid out his plans to the organization. Bobrovsky said, “After the last season, I told the situation to the management of the Blue Jackets so they know everything. They know my plans for this season, they know my plans for the future so they know everything.”
From the sounds of those statements, Bobrovsky is firmly planted as to what he thinks he’s worth, and that during the season, he has no intention of changing his tune or negotiating with the team.
Meanwhile, Panarin used an interpreter to elaborate on what's going on with his current contract negotiations (or lack thereof). Aaron Portzline of The Athletic writes that Panarin sees the importance of having the freedom to control his future and that he intends to take all the time he needs to make a decision.
Panarin said, "A long-term contract is, essentially, a huge part of your life, so it’s really important that we take the time to really decide what the decision is... I’m here right now and I’m here to play hockey and all I’m thinking about is hockey and getting ready to have the best season possible here."
Neither statement reads well for the Blue Jackets who are hoping both players will choose to stay but it looks like their circumstances may move them to other teams in the future. This will make it so the Blue Jackets have to keep a close eye on the season and if the team is struggling, find a move that works so as not to lose either player for nothing.