A Bruins trade for Artemi Panarin? Even Bruce Cassidy has pondered it

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The NHL Trade Deadline is now less than three weeks away, and a Bruins team with a few holes up front seems poised to strike at some point over the next 17 days.

Don Sweeney and his staff have been linked to a number of targets dangling out on the market, but the one name that continues to spark the most interest is Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin — and for good reason.

The Russian winger — poised for a big payday this summer and likely on his way out of Columbus — is the top trade-deadline prize that’s reportedly available, and Boston certainly has the assets to acquire him (although there are plenty of risks involved with going all in on a rental).

Still, you’d be hard-pressed to find a Bruins fan that wouldn’t be tantalized by Panarin’s offensive contributions to B's club that ranks 21st in goals per game (2.85) and 27th in 5v5 goals (54).

Only six players have scored more than Panarin since the 27-year-old sniper jumped over from the KHL to North America — Patrick Kane, Nikita Kucherov, Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby, Blake Wheeler, and Johnny Gaudreau.

If you trim it down to just even-strength points, only McDavid and Kane have scored more than Panarin since the 2015 season.

Panarin would provide a major boost to this Bruins club, but the trade-deadline fervor surrounding the Blue Jackets forward is not just reserved for fans on the interweb. 

Speaking after Friday’s morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena, Cassidy gave his thoughts on how he approaches the upcoming trade deadline — noting that he, just like the rest of us, has kept a close watch on the rumor mill.