Artemi Panarin always wanted to play in front of the big city lights JD reveals

Panarin all smiles in NYC (Corey Sipkin)

John Davidson gave some insights last night during his interview on MSG 150 At Home on Artemi Panarin. When the team president was asked about the Rangers leading scorer he had nothing but glowing remarks. The most interesting tidbit was how hard he tried to keep him in Columbus last season and how Panarin was set in going to a major city.

Panarin’s Big City Desire

“In Columbus when we made the trade for the Breadman we knew what we were getting,” JD began to explain. According to Davidson, Chicago was looking for term when they dealt Panarin for Brandon Saad who had four years remaining on his deal versus Panarin’s two. “It worked out for us (CBJ), and he’s a great player. He’s got a sparkle in his eye everyday he goes to work and he just wants to do nothing but get better.”

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Davidson then made the following admissions. “I will confess that I did my very best to keep him in Columbus because I was working for the Blue Jackets,” he said. Then JD gave the insight into Artemi’s desire to play in a big city. “We knew one thing about Bread and he was being perfectly honest and that was he wanted to go to a big city.”

“He has to make a lifetime decision when you’re thinking about that amount of years on a contract.” The team president also divulged some personal insights into Panarin’s thought process. “He’s getting married, they’ll have a family I’m sure, and he wants to know where he’ll be when all that happens.” Then JD mentioned that when it came time to sign as a free agent, “It worked out, he kept his word.” Which had to be a reference to Panarin ultimately choosing to sign with the Rangers over some bigger money offers in Columbus and the Island.

It wore on Panarin

Last season wasn’t easy on Panarin who always knew that it would be his last in Columbus. “I think it wore on him a little bit in Columbus,” JD explained. “Knowing that people there, management, ownership, teammates, coaches, fans galore all wanted him to stay.” All that plus fans putting up billboards begging him to remain didn’t impact him on the ice as JD said “he still was a star.”

So as we wait for the season to resume, we know that all those rumors which we reported on two summers ago were true. Panarin always had his heart on a big city and New York was the main one. “He just loves New York, every aspect of it,” JD finished. Trust me, the feeling is mutual Artemi.