Will Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky become a package deal in free agency?

The gifted forward, who has said he won’t re-sign with Columbus because he plans to become an unrestricted free agent July 1, recently became a client of agent Paul Theofanous, who also represents Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. Since Bobrovsky also can become a free agent, speculation has begun that Panarin and Bobrovsky will become a package deal when free agency opens. Not even a Columbus distillery’s offer of free vodka for life could change Panarin’s mind about leaving. “It’s amazing,” he told the Columbus Dispatch. “I feel really good after that. I say it’s harder for me to keep talking about my free agency because I see how people want me to stay in Columbus, and it’s harder, but it’s my life. … We only have one life and I want to, like … it’s 10% of my life, seven or eight years, you know? I want to stay happy every day and I want to see more options.” But first comes the Feb. 25 trade deadline, and it’s unclear whether the Blue Jackets will keep or trade one or both players. The Blue Jackets have done a good job of not getting tripped up by the focus on Panarin and Bobrovsky’s respective futures. Columbus is third in the Metropolitan Division and is riding a three-game winning streak.

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