Artemi Panarin might not want to sign a long-term contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets, his agent told The Athletic.
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"It's about, does he want to spend the next eight years in Columbus?" Daniel Milstein said in a Q&A published Sunday. "That's the only thing at stake right now. If it was a two-year deal we probably would have done it. But it isn't a two-year deal. It's [going to] have to be an extended, seven- or eight-year deal put in place."
Panarin can become an unrestricted free agent following this season after the two-year contract he signed with the Chicago Blackhawks on Dec. 28, 2016, expires. The 26-year-old forward became eligible to sign a contract extension July 1 but has informed the Blue Jackets he is not ready to negotiate.
"There's never been a disagreement or an argument," Milstein said. "We've been truthful and honest. I told [Panarin] of the risk, but he said it was a good time to let the team know so that they can plan ahead. We told them before the [2018 NHL] Draft."
Video: Discussing why Artemi Panarin has not signed yet
General manager Jarmo Kekalainen said June 19 that the Blue Jackets hoped to sign Panarin long term and were not looking to trade him.
"Artemi is an elite National Hockey League player," Kekalainen said. "Our position has been that we want him to be a Blue Jacket for many years, and that has not changed. He has a year left on his contract, so there is plenty of time to work toward that end. Should anything change moving forward, we will address it at that time and any decision we make will be in the best interest of our club."
Milstein denied reports that Panarin has provided the Blue Jackets a list of teams he would negotiate a long-term contract with to help facilitate a trade.
"The list you have seen out there, it's all speculation," Milstein said. "I've seen some cities on that report that ... it isn't the list, I can tell you that much. No list has been provided to Jarmo."
Columbus acquired Panarin in a trade with Chicago on June 23, 2017. He had 82 points (27 goals, 55 assists) in 81 games last season, his third in the NHL. The Blackhawks announced they agreed to terms with Panarin as a free agent from the Kontinental Hockey League on May 1, 2015, and he had 151 points (61 goals, 90 assists) in two seasons with them, winning the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year in 2015-16.