Artemi Panarin warns the Blue Jackets that he won't discuss his future until after the season

Last call to trade Artemi Panarin

The Columbus Blue Jackets' winger and his agent, Dan Milstein, informed the team this week that they will not be willing to discuss a contract extension until after this season. Panarin previously said he wouldn't be willing to negotiate during the season, and it appears he's sticking to his word.

Milstein tweeted Monday that Panarin would be willing to discuss his future during the offseason but he is committed to "trying to win a Stanley Cup for [the Blue Jackets] and their fans."

It doesn't read like an outright trade request but it essentially serves as a last call for the Blue Jackets to deal him unless they want to risk losing him for nothing if (but more likely when) he hits unrestricted free agency this summer. Panarin has reportedly expressed a desire to play elsewhere and there have been trade rumors surrounding the winger since this past summer. 

The refusal to discuss his future continues to present Columbus with a tough decision. The Jackets currently sit third in the Metropolitan division, meaning they're on pace for a third straight playoff appearance. Losing Panarin could damage their hopes this season, as he's the team's leading scorer with 53 points (19 goals, 34 assists). 

But the Blue Jackets have had first round exits in each of the past two postseasons -- they've never won a playoff series in franchise history -- and they'll have another very difficult road this Spring, if they make it at all. Is the slight hope that they can make a deep run -- or the slight hope that they can extend Panarin -- worth the risk of holding onto him, or should they try to cash him in for assets now and look to stock up on pieces for the future?

A Panarin trade would likely fetch a strong haul, as he's an elite offensive talent that has consistently put up strong numbers since entering the league in 2015. Over three and a half seasons with the Blackhawks and Blue Jackets, the Russian has posted 107 goals (13th most among all players in that time) and 286 points (sixth most).

Columbus also has questions surrounding Sergei Bobrovsky, their two-time Vezina-winning goaltender. Bobrovsky is also on the final year of his contract and looks unlikely to re-sign this offseason, and he's had some locker room issues this year as well. But, much like Panarin, he's a key piece that they'd prefer to hold onto if they have a desire to compete this year. 

The Blue Jackets host the Sabres on Tuesday, and fans in the local markets can stream the game on fuboTV (Try for free).

For a longer list of players who are prime candidates to be dealt at this this season's trade deadline, visit here.

Pete Blackburn is from Boston, so there's a good chance you don't like him already. He has been a writer at CBS Sports since 2017 and usually aims to take a humorous and light-hearted approach to the often... Full Bio

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