8/31/18 | 9:19AM: Portzline writes again that sources tell him that the Rangers are Panarin's first choice. (The Athletic)
He notes that John Tortorella "loves" Panarin's intensity and never "hesitates" to use him in all situations. (The Athletic)
8/23/18 | According to Aaron Portzline, there is a belief around the NHL that Artemi Panarin's top choice for his next team is the Rangers. (The Athletic)
Portzline notes that it doesn't mean for sure that Panarin will end up with the Rangers at some point but that three different people, from three different teams, all mentioned that they have heard the Rangers are at the top of his list. (The Athletic)
He adds that the Rangers are not interested in trading anything for Panarin right now and that they "don't expect a playoff berth" for this year, only to get another high pick and experience for their young players. (The Athletic)
It was written earlier in the summer that the Rangers would have significant interest in Panarin as a UFA next summer.
Panarin, 26, has a cap hit of $6 million this summer and last season for Columbus he had 27 goals and 55 assists.
Since joining the NHL with Chicago in 2015-16, Panarin ranks 7th in points with 233 in 243 games.
Adam Rotter: Panarin is going to be a hot topic this season and will be linked to the Rangers every step of the way. Like Kevin Shattenkirk, there doesn't appear to be a good reason for the Rangers to move any assets to get Panarin now when they can just use cap space to sign him next summer. Does he fit with where the Rangers are going? Absolutely. He's a game breaker and the Rangers will have the space next summer to sign him. He would certainly fit with the depth the Rangers have down the middle and look good with Mika Zibanejad, Filip Chytil, Lias Andersson or anyone else. He would also join what looks to be a growing list of Russians with Pavel Buchnevich, Vitali Kravtsov, Igor Shesterkin and others in the system.
I wouldn't consider this to be a slam dunk in the way that Shattenkirk, for years, seemed like a slam dunk to come to the Rangers. Panarin will have his choice to join any team that has the cap space to sign him but I'm sure he also has his eyes on joining a winner. If the Rangers look like they are heading in that direction with a good year under David Quinn and good progress with their young player, then I think it could work. If the Rangers look like they still might be 2-3-4 years away from getting things together, I think he could certainly look to go somewhere else and try to win.