July 1 (UPI) -- Former Columbus Blue Jackets star forward Artemi Panarin, one of the top free agents available this off-season, is signing with the New York Rangers.
The 27-year-old forward also was pursued by the Florida Panthers and the New York Islanders, according to ESPN.
"We know he definitely wants to be here in New York, specifically with the Rangers," Rangers president John Davidson said. "It's a perfect fit. There's something special about Panarin and the way he plays the game, the way he looks at the game, and the way he thinks about the game.
"I'm ecstatic about getting Panarin here to join this group."
Panarin played in 79 games with the Blue Jackets this past season, recording 28 goals and 59 assists for a career-high 87 points. The forward's assists and points totals set the franchise's single-season records.
Panarin has skated in 322 career NHL games over four seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks and Blue Jackets. He has 320 points (116 goals, 204 assists) in his professional career, registering at least 74 points in every season.
The Rangers also announced that the team agreed to terms with free-agent forwards Greg McKegg and Danny O'Regan.