#3: Artemi Panarin
Artemi Panarin probably never thought that this trade would help him to a better spot in the NHL.
Panarin entered the league with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2015. He proceeded to have two magnificent seasons posting 77 and 74 points, respectively. That performance got him a $6M extension with the Blackhawks earlier in the year.
However, Panarin was later traded to the Blue Jackets straight up for Brandon Saad. They both have the same AAV on their contract, but money seems to have been the motive. Saad is signed for four more years than Panarin is, and he could likely demand a raise in two years that the Blackhawks won’t be able to give him.
The Blackhawks are looking like their window has closed after being swept in the first round of the playoffs. The Blue Jackets are much younger, have a great goalie, and look to be competitive in the coming years. If you’re Panarin, that’s a situation you want to be a part of.
He has a great pay check, better team, and has a chance to make even more money in the coming years. It would be appropriate to pen Rick Nash a thank you letter for that.