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Report: Artemi Panarin testing free agency

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The Blues could bring Vladimir Tarasenko’s good friend aboard.

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at St. Louis Blues Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

A couple of seasons ago, Vladimir Tarasenko gave the Blues’ scouts a scoop - his friend Artemi Panarin was the real deal.

“I think instead of giving him $8 million, we should have hired him as a scout,” Hitchcock said of Tarasenko. “He told us the day he got here about Panarin. He told us at least once a month about him. They’re best buds, they played together, they played in the world juniors together, they played on lines together. He talked about him, and everybody looked and said he’s a pretty small guy. We all look a little dumb right now.”

Maybe the Blues could’ve listened to their best player. He probably knows what he’s talking about in this situation.

They, obviously, did not listen.

The Blues have an opportunity to rectify that mistake at a price, as Panarin’s days with the Blue Jackets appear to be over.

Panarin is in the middle of a two-year contract that saw him get paid $6 million a season. He finished last year with 27 goals and 55 assists in 81 games.

Someone has to go back to Columbus in return, and no, it will not be a deal that sees Vladimir Sobotka and Patrik Berglund headed to CBJ. Trade proposals welcome, Blues fans.