The Colorado Avalanchye are technically still in the running to land pending unrestricted free agent Artemi Panarin. He would be a dream acquisition for the team.
Panarin and his agent are only meeting with a handful of teams. Granted, the man himself didn’t make the trip to Denver, but his agent didn’t make the trip everywhere. In fact, it’s thought the three teams he’s considering are the Avs, the New York Islanders, and the Florida Panthers.
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It’s that last one that’s a bit pesky. As I’ve mentioned before, Panarin would like to play in Florida. There are beaches there. Plus, there’s no state income tax — which makes your millions go farther.
Now, here’s a way things could still work out for Colorado: bidding war. The Colorado Avalanche have around $15 million more in cap space than the Florida Panthers. With 27 contracts secured, they have $35,525,239 in cap space. Florida has $20,475,001 left with 28 contracts secured.
Now, Florida doesn’t have any pending free agents this season that are going to command a big chunk of that cap space. Colorado, of course, does — Mikko Rantanen. However, as great as Rantanen is, his new contract isn’t going to eat up that entire $15 million. Even Rants and fellow pending RFA, Nikita Zadorov, aren’t going to eat up that entire differential.
What’s more, it’s said that Florida is more interested in the biggest goalie coming to market, Sergei Bobrovsky. They have Roberto Luongo for about 100 more years (three, but it feels like 100) and James Reimer for two more. Apparently they want one more.
Colorado is looking for one thing and one thing only in a splashy free agent — a sexy forward. And by sexy, I mean one who’s sexy as red silk on the ice. That’s the Bread Man. He’s been in the NHL four seasons and been a 70+ points scorer for all of them. He always gets around 30 goals. And he doesn’t break too easily. (He’s missed four games in those four seasons.)
Now, do I think the Colorado Avalanche should overpay for Panarin? It would be hard to advocate ever overpaying. You always want to get good value for your money.
Do I think the Bread Man would be a good addition to the Avs? Yeah, of course I do. Who wouldn’t? You could slot him right on MacKinnon’s left and drop captain Gabriel Landeskog to the second line. We’d instantly have two good lines.
Do I think Panarin is coming to Colorado? I don’t want to say no. He did send his agent out to hear the Avs’ pitch. He has to know the Avs are on the brink of greatness — more so than the Panthers, I daresay.
But we don’t have beaches, and we do have state income tax.
Ultimately, as much as I dream about the Colorado Avalanche making a big splash in free agency this season, I don’t think they’re going to land the biggest fish out there. I’m not going to get my hopes up about Artemi Panarin coming to Colorado.