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Panarin, Road Trip Recap, Next Week and 2017 Vegas Trade

February 11, 2019, 4:29 PM ET [7 Comments]
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Panarin has a new agent, Paul Theofanous, the same guy representing Sergei Bobrovsky. Artemi made an interesting statement:

"It's one life, one chance for free agency, and I want to test free agency," he said, according to the Columbus Dispatch. "[They] have a chance [to sign me], but we'll see what happens in the summer. I want to still [consider] this season and help the team win the Stanley Cup."

Sounds like he is committed to playing in Columbus, but maybe not after this season. Remembering what I was like when I was 27…well, let’s say he has it much more together than I did at that age. I like that he is being honest. Still puts Jarmo in a tough spot.

The Western Conference road trip last week was a huge success and just what the Jackets needed. While 2 of the wins came against suspect teams that may not make the playoffs, the win over Vegas made a statement. The CBJ can skate with the top-quality teams…and win…on the road. They played with the Jets on the road but lost. This is just another step toward competing with the real contenders in the NHL.

This week the boys-in-Union-Blue face a tough task. Two of the three games are with the teams just ahead of them in the division race. Saturday’s game is against a red-hot Blackhawks team that has won 7 straight games.

Washington will be coming into Columbus on the 2nd half of a back-to-back, having just played the Kings the night before at home. Two days later the Isles come to town for a Valentine’s day match up. Side note, I will be in the building for that game…well at least at the attached Ice Haus playing my men’s league game during the CBJ game. Last game of the week has Columbus making the short trip to CHI on Saturday (CHI’s 4th game of the week). If all goes well, the Jackets can come out of this week with a 2 – 1 record. If it goes spectacularly they may find themselves on a 6-game winning streak, but I’m not holding my breath. An 0 – 3 week would prove disastrous given 2 home games and CHI’s record.

Since C-Bus just played Vegas I wanted to look back at the expansion draft trade that was made with the Knights in 2017.

Here is how the trade looked on paper:

Vegas gets:

24th overall pick in 2017 entry draft

William Karlsson

David Clarkson (really just his contract)

Columbus 2019 2nd round pick

Columbus gets:

Relief from a $5.25 million cap hit

To keep Josh Anderson

To keep Joonas Korpisalo

The Blue Jackets were being prudent in keeping young, talented players they could not protect, getting rid of a large cap hit and giving up what other teams in the NHL were giving up in similar situations. Let’s look at the easy parts first. Clarkson never played another game in the NHL after the 2016 season. This was a contract move only. Good for C-Bus, a necessary evil for Vegas. The 24th pick ended up being Kristian Vesalainen, drafted by the Jets. He has played only 5 games in the NHL. Currently he is playing in the KHL and has 15 points in 26 games (source: quanthockey.com). As noted, the Jets made the 24th pick not Vegas. Vegas flipped the pick to select #13 which resulted in Nick Suzuki. He currently has not skated a game in the NHL and is no longer with Vegas, but rather Montreal. Jury is still out on the value of the pick.

Now the hard-to-swallow part, William Karlsson. In his first full season (2015-2016) with C-Bus he scored 9 goals and had 11 assists. The next season (2016-2017) he registered 25 points on 6 goals and 19 assists. His totals were not staggering. He did, however look like a promising talent on the ice. He showcased that his first season in Vegas putting up very unexpected totals of 43 goals and 35 assists. This season his totals are down with 17 goals and 19 assists. In contrast the protected Josh Anderson had 30 points in 2017-2018 and has 28 points this season. But the reason he was protected was the comparison in 2016- 2017 when he had 29 points on 17 goals and 12 assists. We cannot forget that this trade also protected Korpi, Wennberg and Werenski and Nutivaara to a lesser extent. The important thing the CBJ got was cap relief. Because on June 23rd, 2017, just a few days after the trade with Vegas, a HUGE trade changed the course of the current Jackets team. Quoting the CBJ website from that date:

“The Columbus Blue Jackets have acquired left wing Artemi Panarin, a 2016-17 Second Team NHL All-Star and NHL Rookie of the Year in 2015-16, left wing Tyler Motte and a sixth round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for left wing Brandon Saad, goaltender Anton Forsberg and a fifth round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, club General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced today.”

Who knows if that trade could have been made without Clarkson being off the books. That made Karlesson 78-point season in Vegas easier to tolerate.

Vegas not only made a great-for-them one sided trade with Columbus but also found themselves in a similar situation with other teams ahead of the expansion draft as well. From Florida they got Reilly Smith, Jonathan Marchessault (selected) and a 4th round 2018 pick. Pittsburgh gave up Marc-Andre Fleury and a 2nd round 2020 pick. Other picks they were ‘given’ included a 6th round in 2017 by BUF, a 5th round (of Boston) in 2017 from Carolina, Tampa’s 2nd rounder in 2017, the Isles 1st pick in 2017, a conditional 3rd round pick from Minnesota and flipped the C-Bus pick to the Jets to move up from pick 24 to pick 13. In the end Vegas made three 1st round picks in the 2017 entry draft.

Many across the NHL, both execs and fans alike, blamed these Vegas-favored-trades on the expansion draft rules that were designed to allow Vegas to field a competitive team from day one. We all know how that turned out…Stanley Cup finalists in year 1.

This trade hurt the Jackets no doubt. A talented young player was taken from the CBJ roster along with a first round pick and a second-round pick. Context and the passage of time has allowed us to see that this one trade, taken on its own, may have been bad. But, the collection of moves that off season helped the Jackets to become a better team today.

Looking back now, who should the CBJ protected?

Should they have made the trade with Vegas?

What would have been the result if no trade was made?
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