No doubt most people believe that the Columbus Blue Jackets are bluffing when they say that keeping Artemi Panarin as their own rent is an option.

And although I think it's more or less the case that they swap the upcoming UFA star wing before the February 25 trading deadline, I do not think the hire car set is a red herring. Far from it. You will hold Panarin in my head under very specific circumstances. Let us explain the scenario to the game theory:

The jackets get their best offer for Panarin and decide to move it. As a replacement for this season, Columbus is replacing a deal with a team that also offers a loaner (eg, Matt Duchene). The key to the jackets is that the net difference between the two transactions must be that Columbus has left behind an important asset of the future for it to make sense.

Because there is virtually no chance, GM Jarmo Kekalainen simply sells Panarin without trying to replace him somehow …

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