Friday, July 20, 2018

Why it's Okay to Take Prospects and Picks for Panarin

Hope we don't have to do this with Bob as well!
In recent news, Aaron Portzline over at the Athletic has reported that Artemi Panarin's agent has passed along the word that Bread doesn't want to deal with any contract stuff after September 13, 2018.  At that point, its time to play hockey, and Panarin wants that to be his focus. 

I don't feel any animosity towards what Panarin has done.  I think he believes he is doing his best to do right by the Blue Jackets organization, and I am okay with that intent.  Not everyone will be, which is fine too.  While Panarin is under no obligation to negotiate with the Blue Jackets (he already has a contract), the Blue Jackets are under no obligation to heed this deadline.  However, it does set a waypoint in the negotiation process, and the Jackets can approach it three ways. 

First, they could go all in on this season by keeping Panarin, and do damage control at the trade deadline if things go awry.  This is the high risk move.  The second way is to try to gauge the market as best you can, and try to trade Panarin at the top of the market.  The notion here is that you are trying to make a deal that has a good player coming back along with a prospect and a pick.  The third way is to shrug, and make your best deal before the season starts, which almost certainly would be a package of picks and prospects that may be of value in the future.  It is this last option that I want to examine.

In my previous post I suggested that the organization had invested assets roughly equivalent to a middle of the pack first round pick to acquire Panarin.  It is the organization's good fortune that the skill and tenacity that make Artemi Panarin a fantastic player to watch on the ice have resulted in that investment blossoming into an elite player.  The Blue Jackets badly need elite players like Artemi Panarin.  It is the organization's misfortune that they will be unable to retain the player, in spite of a willingness to pay top dollar.  So now what?

My point about the third option above is that a way to take the net difference between the cost to the Blue Jackets and the value of the player, and invest it back into the organization is to acquire the picks and prospects that are likely to be offered over the summer.  Portzline reports that there is a legitimate offer on the table at this time.  While it is true that picks and prospects won't help us this year, we have a young and dynamic defensive corps that is going to keep us in the playoff hunt for a while here.  We won't be drafting from an advantageous position.  By investing in strengthening the talent pipeline with picks and prospects we are helping to ensure the team will be competitive for some time to come.  It took the Capitals nine years to break through.  You have to be ready to compete for the long haul.

Right now, one of the strengths of the organization is the scouting department.  By trading Panarin for a prospect or two, and some picks, you give this part of the organization tools to work with to keep us strong for the long term.  The prospects put pressure on our own prospects to succeed, and it never hurts for the AHL Cleveland Monsters franchise to be flourishing.  You want your prospects developing in a winning atmosphere. 

If Panarin was negotiating, I wouldn't even consider this approach.  But he is not.  We get the best value for Panarin by being willing to take picks and prospects.  It is a value that can be reinvested into the organization to keep it strong..  This is the course of action I favor at this time as having the best return.  We will get to see how it all plays out.


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