From everywhere you read Lou Lamoriello and the New York Islanders want to acquire Artemi Panarin. But how does Lou make operation Panarin successful?
Lou Lamoriello would love to add an impact player to the New York Islanders roster before the start of training camp. Losing John Tavares to free agency this summer was a tough blow for the organization and its fan base. However, adding Artemi Panarin would make that a distant memory.
The first task of this mission is to satisfy the Columbus Blue Jackets. Make no mistake, that is a very difficult task. Columbus does not want to trade Panarin. The soon to be 27-year old dynamic winger is only available because the Jackets know he is gone at season's end.
So Lamoriello has to offer up a deal that makes Columbus very happy. That's a tall order considering the Jackets fo not want to trade him and Panarin will be the best player in the deal.
The other issue is Columbus wants a proven scorer back in return as part of the package. Most teams want to acquire Panarin because they want to improve their offense. Finally, the Jackets will want a significant prospect in the deal as well.
Operation Panarin will not be an easy mission for Lou.
The Islanders actually match-up really well with Columbus regarding a potential deal. The Isles have the ability to trade a scoring forward along with a promising prospect due to their deep farm system.
Two scenarios come to find that could work for both Columbus and the Isles. First, a package of Brock Nelson and Kieffer Bellows could fit the bill for Columbus. While Nelson is maddening at times he has scored between 19 - 26 goals the last four years. Bellows is one of the top 25 prospects in all of hockey and look like a future 25+ goal scorer. Bellows is also knocking on the NHL door.
Another scenario that could work is a package of Jordan Eberle and a solid prospect along the lines of Robin Salo or Linus Soderstrom. This package would give Columbus a top proven scorer (Eberle last year 25G, 59Pts) right now in return.
Extension a Must
The Isles cannot complete any trade with Columbus unless they have a window to sign Panarin to a long-term extension. No extension should mean no interest from the Isles.
Recently Panarin gave Columbus a list of team he would accept a trade to and the Islanders were one of them. Panarin knows anyone trading for him wants an extension done now. The fact the Isles are on his list would suggest this wouldn't be an issue.
Panarin would help the Isles on and off the ice. He would make them a better hockey club and he is in the prime of his career. A line that would have Mathew Barzal and Panarin sound intoxicating.
In terms of off the ice, it would help the Isles from a business standpoint, have the Tavares stigma in the rear-view mirror and make the fan base go wild. If anyone can make operation Panarin a reality it's Lou.