Florida Panthers: Friendships and Connections Are Crucial to Land Artemi Panarin

Russia's Artemy Panarin (L) and Yevgeny Dadonov celebrate scoring in the 2016 IIHF World Championship bronze medal ice hockey match against the United States at VTB Ice Palace in Moscow, Russia, May 22, 2016. Artyom Korotayev/TASS (Photo by Artyom KorotayevTASS via Getty Images)
Russia's Artemy Panarin (L) and Yevgeny Dadonov celebrate scoring in the 2016 IIHF World Championship bronze medal ice hockey match against the United States at VTB Ice Palace in Moscow, Russia, May 22, 2016. Artyom Korotayev/TASS (Photo by Artyom KorotayevTASS via Getty Images) /

In a sport where contacts, friendships, and even connections can make all the difference, the Florida Panthers must use their own to land a certain player.

For those of you who don’t know, Florida Panthers forward Evgenii Dadonov is good friends with this summer’s top UFA, Artemi Panarin.

The two go back to their playing days over in Russia, as the duo both played side-by-side on CSKA Moscow and the Russian Men’s National Ice Hockey Team.

With the Blue Jackets now officially eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Panarin is now officially on vacation, enjoying the sunny weather in South Florida as we speak.

He’s not the only one; his friend and teammate, Sergei Bobrovsky – who’s also expected to sign with the Panthers this offseason – is vacationing with the 27-year-old.

The Panthers, who will have a good amount of cap space entering this summer’s free agency, are expected to be amongst the busiest teams this offseason, attempting to gear up on enough talent to bring the club back to the playoffs.

While Florida may be a top destination for Panarin to join, other suitors – like the New York Rangers – will unquestionably come up with a respectable proposal on why Panarin should take his talents down to Broadway.

Despite having the money and spotlight to offer to Panarin, the one thing that the Rangers lack that the Panthers have is a set core that can go out and win.

The Rangers are currently rebuilding and while they own this year’s second overall pick, they still have a lot of holes to fill in their roster.

Even with the addition of Kaapo Kakko through the draft and Panarin through free agency, the Rangers are still looking from the outside in for at least another couple of seasons.

The Panthers, on the other hand, have a core that cannot only compete now but as well as for the future. With Barkov, Huberdeau, and Trocheck all locked up on team-friendly deals with some term still remaining, the Cats are really in the driver’s seat when it comes to the Panarin sweepstakes.

Even better – which is most important to note – the Panthers have Evgenii Dadonov, who will unquestionably play an important role in recruiting Panarin down south.

When it comes to attracting and convincing big stars to sign for a team (any team for that matter), two of the most important things to have are friendships and connections. The Panthers have both.

Starting with friendships, which I already discussed briefly above, the Panthers own one of Panarin’s good friends, who can really speak to him on a friendship level.

Dadonov can outline the pros of playing in Florida and really sell him on the core that they have locked up. He can also mention that GM Dale Tallon is eager and anxious to win, as evident by the signing of Joel Quenneville.

The weather, while nice, can also be thrown in as a sweetener. As well, the fact that the Panthers don’t own big-time press or news coverage, will probably sit well in Panarin’s stomach, knowing very well that he can focus on the two most important things without being hassled: life and hockey.

Finally, the most important *connection* (not friendship) that Florida has and New York doesn’t is head coach Joel Quenneville.

As most probably remember, Joel Quenneville coached Artemi Panarin back in Chicago where Panarin first took off. While always being a talented player, Quenneville is credited for not only rounding out Panarin’s game but for also turning him into the ultimate package.

What better way to play with your best friend than on top of that, to also reunite with your former coach. After all, Quenneville took a flyer on a player who was unknown at the time, really getting the most out of him during his two years in Chi-Town.

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For the Panthers to win the Panarin sweepstakes this summer, it’s very simple. They need to ensure that Dadonov continues to exchange text messages and phone calls with Panarin throughout the summer, selling him on life and hockey down in Sunrise, Florida.

Secondly, when it comes to the negotiation period, not only will Dale Tallon be in the room, but HC Joel Quenneville will have to be there to genuinely express how much he wants to coach Panarin again, selling him on the short, but good times they had together in Chicago.

Finally, which I think should be the ultimate sweetener (the cherry on top), the Panthers ownership group will have to sell Panarin on the blueprint, outlining the plan put in place behind what the team is trying to achieve in the next five seasons.

Both ownership and management will have to come together (in this respect) to pitch the final offer to Panarin on why choosing Florida would be the correct decision.

Between lifestyle, money, and most importantly, the game with a set core built around him, the Panthers head into the sweepstakes as a hot destination that Panarin will extensively consider.

Joel Quenneville Can Help Lure in Artemi Panarin. dark. Next

If the Florida Panthers play their cards right and do everything that was mentioned above, then I wouldn’t see a reason why Panarin wouldn’t sign with the Cats for the upcoming 2019-20 season.