The Breadman is finally getting his bread.
The Rangers are the lucky winners of the Panarin race, the team announced. New York signed him to a seven-year, $81.5 million contract with a $11.6 million AAV, according to Elliotte Friedman. After being the talk of the trade rumor mill last season but staying put in Columbus, Artemi Panarin was one of the top free agents available this summer.
The 27-year-old winger had several suitors, with the Avalanche, Islanders, Panthers and Blue Jackets all also in the mix. If Panarin had gone to the Panthers, he would have reunited with coach Joel Quenneville, who he played for in his two seasons with the Blackhawks in 2015–16 and 2016–17. A signing in Florida also would have kept him with former Blue Jacket and close friend Sergei Bobrovsky, who signed a seven-year deal with the Panthers on Monday. The two share an agent and traveled around together the last week while meeting with teams.
Panarin scored 28 goals and had 87 points in 79 regular-season games this season, adding five goals and six assists in the playoffs. In his four-year career, he has 116 goals and 204 assists for 320 regular-season points, averaging 80 points a season.
The Blue Jackets reportedly made a last-minute offer on Sunday night to keep Panarin in Columbus, which was rumored to be worth up to $12 million AAV for an eight-year contract. But the chance at an eight-year extension expired when Panarin officially became a UFA at midnight. The Blue Jackets had been trying to sign Panarin to an extension since last summer, but he was firm in wanting to test free agency this year.