Would the Rangers actually trade Artemi Panarin?
In a word, no, the Rangers likely aren’t going to trade Artemi Panarin. The no move clause, the contract, and the Rangers current window to win are big factors. But there were rumblings before Gerard Gallant was dismissed that the Rangers might need a roster shakeup. The “easiest” way to do that is to trade Artemi Panarin as it sends a big message to the locker room while also freeing up a ton of cap space.
No, the Rangers likely aren’t going to trade Artemi Panarin
When the Rangers were unceremoniously booted from the playoffs, there were many calls to trade Artemi Panarin. It was his second straight no-show in the playoffs, and for $11.6 million, you need him to show up. The Rangers are in their window to win, and Panarin was a direct input to why the Rangers lost to the Devils.
However, it’s relatively unrealistic to expect a trade. For starters, Panarin controls his own destiny with his full no-move clause. Clauses get waived all the time, but it does limit leverage the Rangers might have in any situation like this. If the situation was untenable, then maybe Panarin would warm up to the idea of a trade. But he took less money to be a Ranger, so it would have to get real bad real fast.
There also aren’t many teams that can stomach an $11.6 million cap hit should the Rangers trade Artemi Panarin. Sure, there will be rumblings about the Leafs needing a shakeup if Florida completes the sweep. Mitch Marner and William Nylander are, for some reason, never fan favorites. That would be an absolute blockbuster that simply doesn’t happen in the NHL. Wildly unlikely.
There’s a greater chance the Leafs come back from down 3-0 than there is of something like this happening.
The final piece to this is the window to win. If the Rangers look to trade Artemi Panarin, they would need to find a team that is in their contention window, plus has the cap space to make it work, plus get Panarin to waive his NMC for this team. There’s maybe a handful of teams that could make this work.
But what if they did?
If the Rangers found a way to trade Artemi Panarin, then they’d be looking at 2-3 teams tops. Toronto is the easy answer, since they have comparable contracts and production to swap. That’s a lazy answer though.
Ideally, the Rangers would be looking at a RW in return to help balance out the lineup. Only Kaapo Kakko is a top six RW —yes, he is— and there is a logjam at LW. Alexis Lafreniere is a touchy subject, but if the Rangers trade Artemi Panarin, a top-six LW spot opens for Lafreniere to show all he (hopefully) needed was ice time.
The Florida Panthers are an interesting option. They have enough cap space ($9 million) to make it work without salaries matching dollar for dollar. Sam Reinhart would be the target here, fitting the Panthers’ surplus on RW while filling a need at LW. Nick Cousins is their 2LW at the moment.
The Rangers likely wouldn’t want to trade Artemi Panarin in the conference though. There may be a fit with Seattle, but the return wouldn’t fit what the Rangers need to keep their window open. In theory, both Minnesota and LA could make a trade work, but both would be complicated trades. Nashville has the space, but like Seattle, the return doesn’t match.
After playing this out, it seems there are only 2 realistic options, with “realistic” being loosely defined.
For both Panarin and the Rangers, it’s better if they find a coach that can get through to him, instead of trying to cut bait. The Rangers would not be getting the better end of any deal if they trade Artemi Panarin, as they’d be dealing the best player in the trade. Just look at the Matthew Tkachuk trade. Calgary got 2 great players, and see how that turned out?
It’s best to let this play out for now.