Report: Rangers are Panarin's preferred destination

Kirk Irwin / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Artemi Panarin apparently has his eyes set on the Big Apple.

The Russian forward reportedly told the Columbus Blue Jackets in June that he wasn't ready to negotiate a contract extension, forcing the club to begin testing the market for its leading point producer. Now, sources have told The Athletic's Aaron Portzline that the New York Rangers are Panarin's first choice.

The 26-year-old has one year left on his deal which carries a $6-million cap hit. He doesn't have a no-trade clause, and any interested team would likely have plans to sign him to a long-term extension.

The Rangers, New York Islanders, Los Angeles Kings, Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers, and Dallas Stars were all on Panarin's list of preferred destinations at the draft, Portzline notes.

The Jackets have fielded offers for Panarin, but most packages have contained high draft picks and prospects - neither of which would help the team's chances of returning to the playoffs.

Acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks last summer in a deal involving Brandon Saad, Panarin went on to post a career-high 82 points during his first season in Columbus.

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Report: Rangers are Panarin's preferred destination
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