Flyers could be the fly in the Rangers ointment to land Panarin this summer

Panarin (Getty Images)

The Rangers are going to go big after Artemi Panarin this summer. Dating back to last year, reports have made it sound that Panarin being Broadway bound was a foregone conclusion. Well someone hasn’t told the Philadelphia Flyers it seems.

McKenzie on the Rangers Summer Plans

On a radio show in Edmonton before the Rangers faced the Oilers, Bob McKenzie said the following:

“But it’s kind of a soft rebuild (for the Rangers), if you want to call it that. Because don’t be surprised if this summer, when Artemi Panarin is there in free agency, the Rangers are there with bags of money saying, ‘Come see us, come play with us.’ Because it is New York, and they don’t want this to be an all-day sucker, if you will, that’s going to take five, six, seven years.”

Nichols on Hockey

This seems to slightly contrast what Jeff Gorton recently said about the team’s approach after the deadline. While the Rangers GM admitted they will explore everything, they would be very measured when it comes to signing free agents and how they fit in the long term plans.

Enter The Flyers

The Flyers are looking to get better this summer after firing Hextall and trading away Wayne Simmonds. They will enter next season with about 15M in cap space and according to Darren Dreger they could attempt to offer sheet a player like Mitch Marner or go the UFA route for Artemi Panarin.

“Now, maybe they also take a hard run at Artemi Panarin, provided that he 100 percent goes to unrestricted free agency. I guess the point I’m making is I think that there’s an appetite to try and not only turn the corner, but recognize that they’ve got some players who are in the prime of their career, but also coming out of the prime of their career. So they’ve got a nice balance right there. If they were able to add a couple of key pieces, maybe Philadelphia could make a move pretty quickly.”

Nichols on Hockey

The Flyers have been mentioned several times as one of three top suitors for Panarin this summer with the rival Islanders being the other. Either way, it all serves to raise his price this summer.

The Rangers Advantage
Gorton (NYR)

The rumored numbers that most insiders believe will be the final contract are around $11M per for the max 7 years. That would take the 27 year old Panarin to the ripe age of 34 at the end of his contract. Jeff Gorton and the Rangers need to avoid those late years.

One thing the Rangers could do, similar to what the Leafs did with John Tavares is front load the money in a signing bonus. Toronto gave around 70M of his 77M contract in the form of a signing bonus to Tavares, the Rangers can do the same.

In essence, the Rangers will make his contract “lock-out proof” with the potential of a heated CBA negotiation just around the corner. Not only can the Rangers do that, but they could go over his market value and maybe offer him 12.5M for 4 or 5 years, thus making the term more favorable for the Blueshirts future.