Artemi Panarin
AP Photo

With fewer than three days until free agency begins, the pairing of Artemi Panarin and the New York Rangers might actually happen.

Frank Curto

The New York Rangers could be the frontrunner to sign Artemi Panarin, according to TSN’s Frank Seravalli. The reporter believes that the Rangers are currently leading the race to sign the highly-coveted free agent.

“Let’s start with the top dog on the list, Artemi Panarin, who visited the New York Rangers on Wednesday,” Seravalli said. “I think they’re the leading candidate to land him. John Davidson, their incoming president, knows him so well.”

Davidson was the president of the Columbus Blue Jackets during Panarin’s time there. Perhaps this familiarity will give the Rangers an edge in their pitch to the star free agent.

Panarin’s price won’t be cheap, though. Seravalli claims that the Russian sniper is looking for somewhere between $12-12.5 million per year. Those numbers are near what Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid earns.

The question now that the Rangers have to ask themselves, is the asking price worth the return Panarin will bring to the team? It looks to be a two-team race between the Florida Panthers and the Rangers.

It was reported earlier in the week that Panarin and his agent met with the Rangers on Wednesday. Most did not know about the meeting until it was completed and little has been said about it until Friday afternoon when Seravalli made his comments.

The Rangers would most likely have to trade some players and/or buy out a defenseman to free up the cap space needed to make a Panarin signing happen.

Until Monday at noon ET, rumors and speculation will lead the way.

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A graduate of St. John's University class of '91. I have been a fan of the New York Rangers since the days of Peter Puck. Founder of Ranger Proud, the Facebook page that covers all news, notes, pre /post-game stats, and player quotes. I can be reached at