Artemi Panarin is not coming back to Chicago, reports David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period.
Panarin, who turns 28 in October, is a highly sought after free agent this summer after scoring at least 80 points in each of the last two seasons with the Blue Jackets. It was a dream scenario for some Blackhawks fans to see Panarin to return to Chicago, where he scored at least 30 goals and 74 points on the second line with Patrick Kane from 2015-17 before being sent to Columbus in a blockbuster trade in June 2017.
The Panthers, who hired former Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville this spring, have long been believed to be the favorites to land Panarin.
According to Evolving-Hockey’s updated salary projections, Panarin is expected to command an eight-year contract with a $11,172,683 million annual salary cap hit. The Blackhawks have $16.48 million in cap space prior to re-signing any of their players that are set to be free agents.